KENNEWICK -- Pucks were flying up and down the ice as the Tri-City Americans were running passing drills during practice Tuesday at Toyota Center.
In the middle of it all was team captain Kruise Reddick, back on the ice after missing eight games with a concussion.
"It's not fun (sitting out)," said Reddick, who missed 19 games two years ago because of a concussion. "It's not something you want to do. I'm glad I'm healthy and can go out and help the team."
Reddick, 20, was injured Oct. 9 at Brandon when he tried to check a Wheat Kings player in the first period.
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"I laid a pretty good hit on him, but he ducked and I hit his helmet," Reddick said.
Monday was Reddick's first full day of practice. The Manor, Saskatchewan native, skated Thursday and had a couple of workouts before that to make sure he was ready for a full-scale practice.
"He's our captain and our leader," said Americans general manager Bob Tory. "He provides a lot to our lineup on and off the ice. It was important that he was ready to go at 100 percent and that he was comfortable stepping on the ice.
"His return certainly changes our team," Tory continued. "He's a top line guy, and he works the power play. It gives Jim (coach Hiller) a whole lot more options."
With Reddick's return, the Americans are only short forward Brendan Shinnimin, who has two games left on his 12-game WHL suspension.
"The closer we get to our full team, the better we can see where we are at," Tory said. "Getting home (the Americans played 11 road games in October) and having time to practice and do things away from the rink is healthy. It's nice to get back to a sense of normalcy."
Before he was injured, Reddick had two goals and eight assists in nine games. In his absence, the Americans went 5-2-0-1, with assistant captain Tyler Schmidt wearing the captain's letter.
"Tyler did a great job -- it's not only my job but his and a few others," Reddick said. "He stepped up and made sure the guys were ready. They all stepped up through the adversity.
"We are excited to have all the guys back. We've never been at full strength because (Mason) Wilgosh was out at the start of the season. Hopefully we will hit our stride and be healthy the rest of the season."
The Americans (11-4-1-1, 24 points) have just one game this week, entertaining the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday.
"Saturday can't come quick enough," Reddick said. "I'm excited to get back out there."