He moved another step closer Friday when he joined his teammates for a morning skate. He has not played this season.
Heatley, 22, resumed skating on Dec. 23, his first on-ice workout since the September car accident that claimed the life of teammate Dan Snyder. He has been recovering from torn ligaments in his right knee suffered in the Sept. 29 accident, when he slammed his Ferrari into a pillar on a winding road in Atlanta's Buckhead section.
""This is just another step in the process," said General Manager Don Waddell. "He continues to make great progress and today we just thought we would throw him out there with a few more players on the ice."
Snyder was a passenger in Heatley's car and died of massive brain injuries six days later at the age of 25.
The Thrashers were preparing for Friday night's home game against Carolina.