All things being equal, Ryan Suter would rather be playing hockey.
As a matter of fact, one thing that actually equal is the amount of sleep the Nashville Predators’ defenseman has gotten over the past three weeks while he has been sidelined by a knee injury. During that time, he has missed eight straight games, six of them Predators’ losses.
“After the games, I usually can’t sleep for a while,” Suter said Tuesday morning. “Like when I play, I can’t fall asleep until 2 o’clock in the morning, but even when I watch I still can’t fall asleep because my heart rate is so high. Every play, I just feel like I’m a part of it.
“You want to be out there, and I will definitely be ready to go. Hopefully soon.”
He took an important step in that direction Tuesday morning.
After having skated on his own prior to the start of the Predators’ workout, Suter joined his teammates for the first 25 minutes of their session, which lasted roughly 80 minutes at Centennial Sportsplex.
Forward Martin Erat, who has missed the last three games, did the same thing.
No timetable was given for either to return to game action. The Predators next play Thursday at St. Louis to conclude a stretch of six straight road games, then they host Chicago on Saturday before they play four more on the road.
“They’re sort of day-to-day,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We won’t really have a definite answer until Thursday, to be quite honest with you. They’re getting closer, but until they’re in the lineup they’re not in the lineup.”
Erat has had minimal injury issues throughout his nine-year NHL career. He never has played more than 80 games in a season and has averaged slightly more than nine missed games over the past four seasons.
Suter, conversely, played every game three of the past four seasons and the eight games he’s missed this time already is second only to the 11 he missed as a rookie in 2005-06.
“You have to be patient,” Trotz said. “Both of them are top players and we need them to get healthy. If we don’t allow them to get healthy then they’re not going to be playing at 100 percent and we’re going to get frustrated with them, and they’re going to be frustrated with their injury. We need them to be close to 100 percent.
“Would I like them in the lineup? Absolutely. That would really help, but that’s not reality right now.”
The reality is that the only game he can play is the waiting game.
“If it feels good, then I’m going to go; if not then I won’t,” Suter said. “It’s not worth risking it now because then that could delay things even more. It’s something where we want to make sure it’s pretty close to 100 percent.”