The Blues expected center Jori Lehtera to miss the entire preseason after the forward was forced to undergo ankle surgery on Aug. 4, but it looks like Lehtera's rehab is ahead of schedule as the Blues announced he is now expected to practice with the team Friday.

Lehtera told St. Louis outlet KMOV that doctors originally expected his recovery to take between eight and 12 weeks, but Lehtera is just seven weeks out of surgery and said he feels ready to return to the practice ice.

"Everything is going pretty well," Lehtera told KMOV. "Last time I was on the ice was in the playoffs so it's been like six months and I've been on the ice now like seven times. It's hard still but it's getting better. I think I'm going to do the full practice [Friday] with the guys so we will see [Friday] after the skate how that feels."

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Lehtera also spent the summer recovering from a broken wrist suffered during the playoffs last season. Although he could not shoot a puck for months, Lehtera said he should be fine for the coming season. That's good news for the Blues since the team signed Lehtera to a three-year, $14.1 million contract extension over the summer.

(h/t KMOV)