After a lengthy absence, Connor Murphy returned to Chicago Blackhawks practice Friday morning in a non-contact capacity. The veteran defenseman has been on long-term injured reserve due to a concussion since March 18 (retroactive to March 12).
A scary hit from behind during Murphy's last game action resulted in his concussion. On March 12 in Ottawa, he left the ice on a stretcher after being boarded by Senators forward Parker Kelly. Luckily, Murphy gave a thumbs-up as he left the ice and did not have to go to the hospital.
That instance was especially concerning given his injury history. In early December, Murphy suffered a concussion that caused him to miss three games.
On the season, the 29-year-old has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 57 games. A mainstay of Chicago's blue line, Murphy serves as an alternate captain and ranks second on the team in average ice time per game (21:45) this season. Prior to the 2021-22 campaign, the Blackhawks signed Murphy to a four-year contract extension that begins next season.
With only eight games remaining on the Chicago Blackhawks schedule, it's unclear if Connor Murphy will play again this season. But seeing him back at practice, albeit in a non-contact capacity, is a positive development.