Mason targets Monday as his return date

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason (back) declared he was “close to 100 percent” after taking shots during Saturday’s practice, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

If all goes well, he would like to play on Monday against Arizona.

“Today was a really good first step,” Mason said. “I think I got more work in than we had planned for, which was a good sign. I was moving good, and my energy level was pretty good as well.”

The fact that he’s almost ready to return has to be quite the relief for him after the intense pain he experienced when he fell to the ice during a practice on Dec. 20. He was worried that he had suffered a long-term injury, but it was soon determined that his back problem wasn’t serious.

“From when it happened to the way I feel now, I never imagined I could feel this good as quickly as I did,” said the 26-year-old netminder.

Ray Emery is expected to start tonight against the Nashville Predators.

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