Blake Wheeler rejoins Winnipeg Jets after getting cleared from COVID-19 protocols

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Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler is out of quarantine and back with the team.

After completing his 10-day quarantine following his positive test for COVID-19, Wheeler flew out of Minnesota Wednesday morning and practiced with the team in California later in the day.

Following his first practice in nearly two weeks, Wheeler said he only felt really sick on the first day of his diagnosis and spent most of his days in isolation in his parent’s basement.

“I was down and out for the first day, and after that I felt pretty good,” said Wheeler. “Just a matter of getting back on my feet and kinda exercising again, and just moving around. After you’re sick you just got to get back to it. So, that’s been kinda the challenge the last three or four days.

“So that when I hit the ice, I feel halfway decent.”

READ MORE: Jets’ Scheifele joins team captain in NHL COVID-19 protocol

With three wins in the four games Wheeler missed, the Jets certainly aren’t going to rush him back into the lineup.

Being off the skates for the past 10 days, he won’t play on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, and he might not even dress on the rest of the road trip at all. There’s still no timetable for his return while he tries to get his legs back.

“It’s been great the guys have been playing so well,” said Wheeler. “It makes it a lot easier when you’re missing time to see the guys play well and winning. So, that definitely eases the blow a little bit. When I can come back and contribute, I’ll be ready to go. I’m sure it’ll be sooner than later, but definitely got to give myself time, I don’t want to miss any more games. I missed too many games here in the last little bit.

“I want to stay out there when I get back.”

Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Wheeler himself will make the decision on when he’s ready to come back into the lineup.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets Captain Blake Wheeler tests positive, is symptomatic for COVID-19

“There’s no plan for this,” said Maurice. “What we’re gonna do is see how he feels tomorrow, go a little heavier tomorrow. See how he feels the next day, and just ramp up from there.

“There’s an unknown here because it’s not a disease we’re used to dealing with. On the other hand, you got a 35-year-old who’s played with just about everything and has a real handle on what he can do and when he’s ready.

“All of this will be Blake. We’re going to watch him in practice and make sure we’re both seeing the same thing, but he’ll tell us when he’s ready.”

With three straight victories, the Jets play the second game of a three-game road trip on Thursday against the Kings before closing it out against the Sharks on Saturday.

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