Neal Prokop walked down the hall to the Tri-City Americans' weight room Thursday with a slight limp.
The overage forward still is healing from a deep thigh bruise suffered Jan. 14 against Kamloops when he checked the Blazers' Josh Caron into the boards in the second period.
The injury was to his left leg, the same one he broke against Chilliwack in the playoffs last year.
"It was pretty painful," recounted Prokop. "It was almost as bad as before. I was kind of panicking."
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After an X-ray showed no structural damage, Prokop and his father Grant, who was in town to watch his son play, were relieved.
"At first, we didn't know what happened," Prokop said. "I couldn't re-break it. I didn't want it to be anything that would keep me out awhile."
Time, therapy and anti-inflammatories have helped Prokop heal.
"I've gotten a lot better the last couple of days," he said. "I've been getting a lot of my strength back. Every day, it has gotten better."
But not good enough to join his teammates on the ice this weekend against Portland and Spokane.
"I really wanted to play," he said. "It's my (21st) birthday and Nuclear Night."