Derek Roy, who was leading the team in scoring when he suffered a torn tendon in his left quadriceps muscle Dec. 23, skated Wednesday and is eyeing the second round of the playoffs as a potential target for his return.
"We're still gunning for the second round, which would put us at about the four-month period from the surgery," Roy told NHL.com. "I'm ahead of schedule right now. I'm just trying to work on strengthening my knee and my quad, and going out and skating is part of that."
The original prognosis for Roy's injury was a 4-6 month recovery, and the Sabres' surge into eighth place in the Eastern Conference offers Roy a glimmer of hope that there could be more hockey left in his 2010-11 season.
Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reported that Roy skated for 25 minutes Wednesday, spending the last 10 shooting pucks. Roy told Harrington this actually was the fourth time he has skated but the first where he "pushed his workout."
"It kind of crept up on me -- all of a sudden our trainer said I could get on the ice and start skating, so I was like, 'Oh, that's cool,'" Roy told NHL.com.
Roy led the Sabres with 35 points in 35 games at the time of his injury. He is the franchise's leading scorer since the start of the 2007-08 season with 255 points -- one more than Jason Pominville and nine more than Thomas Vanek despite playing at least 26 fewer games than either of them.
"Today it felt a lot better than the first few days where you just move around and see how it feels," Roy told the Buffalo News. "Today I took a big step, started skating hard and got my heart rate up.
"Doc said at the three-month period you usually start feeling a little bit better and all of a sudden your leg starts getting bigger and stronger. All of a sudden, things come quicker. That first three months are just that slow process of healing. Once it heals after the three-month period, he said you can do whatever you want, basically."