Jets’ Blake Wheeler to return from broken testicle against Lightning

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Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler is set to return to the lineup Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Wheeler suffered a broken testicle last month, which has kept him out of action.

Wheeler suffered the injury on December 15 when he was accidentally hit by a shot from Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey in a game against the Nashville Predators. The 36-year-old has missed the last nine games due to the injury.

The Jets forward didn’t even realize he suffered a broken testicle the night the injury occurred.

“There’s a difference between being hurt and being hurt,” Wheeler said after the game against Nashville. “I didn’t know I was hurt until the next day.”

Before the injury, Wheeler had a strong season for Winnipeg. He currently has nine goals and 17 assists in 29 games over the 2022-23 campaign.

Wheeler has been a member of the Jets since being traded to the Atlantic Thrashers at the time by the Boston Bruins back in 2011. During his 15-year NHL career, the veteran forward has scored 255 goals recorded 528 assists in 1,075 games with the Bruins and Thrashers/Jets.

In addition to Wheeler, the Jets also slate forwards Nikolaj Ehlers and Cole Perfetti, along with defenseman Nate Schmidt, back from injury for Friday’s contest. Without Wheeler, the Jets have improved to a 5-4-0 record and are currently just three points behind the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division.

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