240122 Chytil [600x400]
240122 Chytil [600x400] (Credit: Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

Powerplay An all-South African affair

Filip Chytil is back practicing with the New York Rangers and could be an option for the playoffs, sources told ESPN.

The timeline on Chytil's return has not been determined, and the Rangers will take a wait-and-see approach to gauge how the 24-year-old center is feeling. However, Friday marked a big step as Chytil joined the team for practice at its training facility after being medically cleared.

The Rangers had ruled Chytil out for the season in January, citing a setback to an upper body injury. According to sources, Chytil had been dealing with head injuries. The final setback occurred when Chytil fell during a morning skate at Madison Square Garden and had to be helped off the ice.

"The organization's top priority throughout this process has been Filip's health and we will continue to fully support him in his recovery with an aim to return for the 2024-25 season," the Rangers said in a statement in January.

New York's management and trainers have held steadfast that they do not want to rush Chytil back, and that they will follow his lead with whatever he's comfortable with, sources told ESPN. It was Chytil's decision to join the team Friday after he reported significant progress in his training.

In a social media post earlier this year, Chytil called it the "hardest 3 months of my life and has not been easy for my family, closest people and of course the whole NY Rangers organization."

"But we gotta stay positive even in these tough moments and just think what is ahead of us," Chytil wrote. "Thanks to you all for nice messages! I'll come back stronger than ever!"

The Rangers reinforced the center position at the trade deadline, acquiring Seattle's Alexander Wenneberg -- who has anchored the third line since joining the team in March.

Chytil, the team's 2017 first round pick, only played in 10 games this season, scoring six points. The Czech-born forward was coming off a career-year 22-goal campaign. Chytil is in the first year of four-year deal, worth $4.437 million annually.

Chytil would be eligible to join the Rangers in the playoffs, when the salary cap becomes moot.