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Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf could return next week; Patrick Eaves progressing

Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf could return next week; Patrick Eaves progressing
Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf waits for the puck to drop during the second period of a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Ryan Kesler made his season debut Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes, and that's just the beginning of some much-needed good news on the Ducks' injury front.

General manager Bob Murray said Ryan Getzlaf won't suit up this week as he contends with a groin injury suffered over the weekend, but he could return next week.

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"Getzy's not as bad we feared, we had to wait until the swelling and bleeding kind of went down in his groin - it's a groin pull -- and it's not severe whatsoever," Murray told reporters from his press box minutes before faceoff. "In fact, he did some things today that means he's not that far away."

The captain isn't the only veteran forward missing from the lineup. Patrick Eaves, who played just two games last season while dealing with a misdiagnosed illness, remains on the mend following offseason shoulder surgery.

However, the 34-year-old is now participating in some practice drills, Murray noted. The other short-term injury the Ducks are dealing with? Ondrej Kase, who suffered a concussion during the preseason.

Murray said Kase is still experiencing symptoms and hasn't skated yet, though the 22-year-old did work out at Honda Center prior to the game.

"Every day he does more," Murray said. "He's progressing but not skating yet."

The other forwards missing from the Ducks lineup: Corey Perry and Nick Ritchie.

Perry is expected to return around the trade deadline after undergoing knee surgery. Ritchie's status is far more uncertain; the former first-round pick remains an unsigned restricted free agent.

The Ducks again featured six rookies in the lineup, and Murray is "really happy" with their play. "I think they're all doing just fine," he said. "They're doing very, very well. I'm really happy."

That group includes 2018 first-round draft choice Isac Lundestrom, defenseman Marcus Pettersson and undrafted free agent Kiefer Sherwood. The other three rookies -- Max Comtois, Sam Steel and Troy Terry -- are occupying top-six roles and all could stick around even as players like Getzlaf, Eaves and Kase inch closer to returns.

If they maintain the play that's impressed Murray, would the GM even need Ritchie, a power forward, back in the fold?

"I'm not negotiating through the press," he said. "I'm not saying a word."

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