Sens GM Murray: Spezza cleared, could return in 2-3 weeks

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The Ottawa Senators received more good news on the health front Wednesday, as GM Brian Murray said Jason Spezza could be back in the lineup well in advance of the Apr. 3 trade deadline.

“Jason has been cleared by the doctors for hard work and to get it going,” Murray told Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes. “We’re hoping in about two to three weeks we’ll be able to put him into the lineup for us.”

Spezza, Ottawa’s leading point-getter from a year ago, has been out of action since Jan. 27 after tweaking his back during a 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh.

He underwent surgery on Feb. 1 and, a week later, said he was aiming to return for the playoffs.

So clearly, rehab has gone better than expected.

Ottawa is anxiously awaiting Spezza’s return, as he’ll inject some life into an offense averaging an Eastern Conference-worst 2.1 goals per game.

That said, the Sens have done extremely well (5-3-2 in their last 10) to battle through the losses of Spezza, reigning Norris winner Erik Karlsson, goalie Craig Anderson and forward Milan Michalek, who led the team with 35 goals in 2011-12.

Michalek will return from a 10-game absence tonight against Toronto, and Anderson’s return shouldn’t be far behind. Ottawa said Anderson won’t be in the lineup on Friday when the Sens take on the Rangers, but could make his return next week.