Laperriere may return; Carter likely out

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said it was still "a stretch" to suggest injured center Jeff Carter would return to action in the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal.

"He's been off the ice a long time, he hasn't really been able to do anything from a conditioning standpoint," Holmgren said Monday. "Obviously, it's encouraging to see him skating. He skated. Today's Monday, we'll take it a day at a time, see how he is tomorrow."

Carter skated for about 15 minutes Monday before the Flyers practiced. He broke his foot in Game 4 of the Flyers' first-round series against New Jersey and had surgery on April 23. Monday was the first time he skated since having the procedure.

The Flyers got good news when Ian Laperriere was cleared for contact. Holmgren said the fan favorite could rejoin the team at some point in this series.

Laperriere suffered a concussion and brain contusion after taking a shot to the face in Game 5 of the opening round.

"They're both chomping on the bit big time. It's just a question whether, A) are they healthy enough to play and B) are they fit enough, at this point. The health part we're working through with both of them," Holmgren said.

Simon Gagne, who was hurt in the same game as Carter, joked that they were racing against early diagnosis on how long they were going to be out of action.

"I don't think anybody was expecting Carts to be skating that early," said Gagne, who returned from his own foot injury in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston. "They were talking about six weeks, so we were kind of looking at maybe if we go to Stanley Cup Finals, but not in the third round. To see him today able to skate by himself, it's definitely great news today."

Scott Burnside covers the NHL for ESPN.com.