Leighton, Walker return to practice

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the first time since training camp, Michael Leighton and Matt Walker were back on the ice with their Flyers teammates on Wednesday, as the team practiced at the RBC Center before Thursday night’s game against the Hurricanes.

Leighton had back surgery on Oct. 11 to relieve a herniated disc and his timetable for return was six to eight weeks. Leighton had skated 4 or 5 days on his own prior to Wednesday’s practice.

Leighton was originally scheduled to return to practice on Nov. 10 but said he is a little ahead of schedule. He took shots from teammates and didn’t seem to have any trouble moving in net.

Leighton said he isn’t experiencing any pain, just the normal soreness associated with healing.

Walker, meanwhile, came on the ice about halfway into the Flyers’ hour-long practice. Walker, a physical defenseman, was acquired on July 19 from Tampa Bay in exchange for Simon Gagne.

Walker had hip surgery on Oct. 20 and was supposed to be out of action for 10-to-12 weeks. It’s been just 3 weeks. Walker said since they didn’t need to touch his hip bone, the prognosis is a little better than he has expected. He has yet to play in a game for the Flyers after injuring his hip in a preseason fight.

Read more in Thursday’s Daily News.