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Oilers could get Jones (retina tear) back by Saturday

Feb 21, 2013, 11:31 AM EDT

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Ryan Jones AP

The Edmonton Oilers might get a boost up front this weekend in the form of Ryan Jones.

Jones, 28, could return from his partially torn retina in time for Saturday’s game in Edmonton against the Coyotes.

“We’ve got Ryan in the starting blocks,” Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger told the Edmonton Journal. “He’s such a character player for us. We can get him some battle drills in practice, but there’s nothing that can replace being in an actual game.

“We’ll start him slow when he returns. Six or seven minutes and then work his way into the 14 to 15-minute (a game) player.”

During the lockout, Jones took a puck to the face while training with fellow NHLers at the University of Minnesota. The end result was eye damage that required surgery, a procedure that has yet to allow him to play this season.

“There was some structural damage there, but it was quickly fixed. It wasn’t a complicated surgery,” he said back on Jan. 8. “There’s still some inflammation, but I’ve had one checkup and will be going back for another this Monday (Jan. 14), then I’ll be coming to Edmonton.”

Jones has been skating with the Oilers and reportedly won’t be sent to AHL Oklahoma City for conditioning.

The rugged winger will be a major boost for Edmonto. He’s scored 35 goals over the last two seasons and finished second among all forwards in hits last season, with 119.

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