Mitch Marner's ankle injury will keep him from joining Maple Leafs on two-game trip

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Don’t expect to see Mitch Marner in the Maple Leafs lineup in the near future. 

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The star winger did not skate on Monday and won’t be on the Leafs trip to Philadelphia and Washington for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

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Marner already has missed three games after suffering a high ankle sprain on March 7 against the Bruins in Boston. 

“It hasn’t been responding the way that (team doctors) had hoped, so just stepping back a little bit with it,” Keefe said after the Leafs practised at the Ford Performance Centre. “We’re just trying to get him to the point that he’s comfortable throughout the week, so he’s day to day away from being day to day.”

And with the Leafs expected to have just one practice, on Friday, before a back-to-back set at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday and on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, it’s rather doubtful Marner would play in those games.

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Still, Leafs general manager Brad Treliving, in an interview with TSN’s Gino Reda at the GM meetings in Florida, didn’t sound overly concerned with Marner’s status.

“It’s in all likelihood a minor injury, but we want to be respectful of it and we’ve got some time here,” Treliving said. “Mitch has been off the ice the last couple of days, we’ll ramp him back up this week and take it day by day and see how he is feeling. But hopefully he is back sooner rather than later.”

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Defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin did not practise on Monday because he was sick and was not going to be on the team’s charter to Philadelphia, Keefe said.

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With Lyubushkin doubtful to play versus the Flyers, Simon Benoit would draw back in. Benoit has been a healthy scratch for the past three games after the Leafs acquired Joel Edmundson before the trade deadline. 

Benoit practised alongside regular partner Jake McCabe on Monday. With Lyubushkin out, Keefe went back to using Morgan Rielly and TJ Brodie as a pair and kept Timothy Liljegren and Edmundson together.

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During the weekend, the Leafs placed forward Calle Jarnkrok on long-term injured reserve and activated defenceman Conor Timmins. Jarnkrok, who suffered a hand injury in Philadelphia last Thursday, would be eligible to return on April 8.

Ilya Samsonov is expected to start against the Flyers on Tuesday, with Joseph Woll getting the call in Washington 24 hours later.

Ryan Reaves took reps on the fourth line on Monday after he was scratched against Carolina on Saturday. Noah Gregor practised as the 13th forward.

With the Leafs in a 1-for-24 rut in their past nine games on the power play, Keefe had Rielly anchoring on the second unit. Liljegren was on the point on the No. 1 unit and Tyler Bertuzzi was on that unit as well.

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