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Auston Matthews hopes to play after All-Star break

Thomas Williams
Hockey writer
The Leafs' star pulled out of the All-Star Game with a wrist injury. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Auston Matthews hopes to be in the lineup when the Toronto Maple Leafs return to action on Monday against the Nashville Predators.

"That's my plan, that's my goal," Matthews told reporters Thursday during All-Star Game Media Day.

"Hopefully it gets better. I'll go through the process and have a good practice on Sunday and go from there. But definitely my goal is to try to stay as healthy as possible and play Monday."

Matthews withdrew from the All-Star Game and other on-ice events with a minor wrist injury.

"I think it was just wear and tear," Matthews said. "I can't really pinpoint the exact day, but this has been kind of going on and nagging for two or three weeks. I'm hoping this week off and these extra two or three days can kind of help it. I'm still planning on playing next week and continuing on. 

“It's just one of those things that is nagging. Obviously in a game there is a lot of adrenaline going and things are going through your mind. You tend to kind of forget about it, manage it and play through it."

The 22-year-old has played all 49 games for Toronto this season and despite his underlying wrist injury, Matthews has scored 34 goals, currently tied for second-most in the league with Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin.

Even if he isn’t going to be on the ice, Matthews will still be participating in events around St. Louis and the Enterprise Center.

"Obviously just being here, you want to kind of compete out there and participate," he said. "Getting a couple of extra days to heal and rest [the injury] is important, but I think it was also important for me to be here.

"It's a big honor to be selected to the All-Star Game in general, so I'm happy to be here."

The All-Star Skills Competition will be taking place on Friday, while the All-Star Game itself will be on Saturday.

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