Jared Cowen was a sight for sore eyes Wednesday.

The Senators defenceman wasn't supposed to be able to return this season after having hip surgery in November, but there he was on the ice with his teammates for most of the club's 45-minute workout at Scotiabank Place.

The 6-foot-5 Cowen, whose recovery time from the procedure was supposed to be out 6-to-8 months, will accompany the club on its 12-day road trip next week and is determined to try to be back in time for the playoffs.

"Personally, it's been a goal for me all year long (to play in the playoffs)," said Cowen. "I've pushed for that. It's awesome. I have to take a step outside the circle, look at what I'm doing, because I don't want to rush it.

"I don't want to re-injure it in any way. I want to get back to playing. I'm sick of watching. All in good time."

Coach Paul MacLean downplayed any expectations for Cowen and said any discussion of him playing in the post-season is "premature. "He was a participant, but he didn't really participate," said MacLean. "That's just part of the process of his rehab. He's a young man and he likes to play. Part of his participation was to give him a little something.

"He has been skating by himself all the time. (Scouting and development consultant) Jason Smith's a great guy and some of the other guys who are around, but it's not like skating with your teammates. A little bit is to give him a shot of energy and confidence."

MacLean said with the injuries the club has had, it would be nice to get the likes of Craig Anderson (ankle), Milan Michalek (knee) and Jason Spezza (back) back. All three are expected to return while Erik Karlsson (Achilles) is out for the season.

"I'm not sure we could make a trade before the deadline that would give us better players than what we have on the (injured list) right now," said MacLean. "If we get them all healthy, we don't really need to do anything."