Sabres defenseman Justin Falk (41) skates near his namesake, Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk (27), last season. ©2017, Hickling Images, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Justin Falk close to playing

BUFFALO – For the first week and a half of his injury, Sabres defenseman Justin Falk said he couldn’t do anything.

“So that was the worst,” Falk, who has missed the first 11 games, said this afternoon inside KeyBank Center.

Then the Sabres went on a four-game western road trip. Falk, meanwhile, stayed at home nursing his injury.

“You wait around all day until 10 o’clock at night to watch a hockey game,” he said.

There was, however, a silver lining to missing so much time.

“Fortunately, my family got in about two days after,” Falk said. “I was able to reset. I was away from my (two) kids for a month. I was able to really kind of do some dad things that you don’t normally get to do during the season.

“I was taking my daughter to preschool … seeing some other aspects of daily life that after being away from them for a month, it was good to refresh like that. That helped pass the time.”

His time away rehabbing a lower-body injury is almost over. He practiced again this morning inside HarborCenter, his second session with his teammates this week.

Falk said he started feeling something during a Sept. 27 preseason game in Pittsburgh. Still, he played two nights later in the exhibition finale.

By early the next week, though, Falk knew he couldn’t keep playing.

“The timing wasn’t obviously great,” he said.

The 6-foot-5, 222-pound Falk, one of the Sabres’ biggest surprises last season as he played 52 games, impressed new Sabres coach Phil Housley during training camp.

Housley, of course, wants his defensemen to rush the puck. Falk isn’t often cast in that role.

“I thought that training camp went well for me, personally,” said Falk, who’s day-to-day, according to Housley. “I was really trying to use my skating a bit more to my advantage and wanting to get involved in getting up ice and supporting the attack and all that. I think that’s helping me have better instinct and assertiveness in the D-zone and my all-around game.”

In other news, Housley said defenseman Zach Bogosian (lower body) is still week-to-week and hasn’t been skating.

“He’s still making strides forward,” Housley said.

The Sabres host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon.

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