Okposo has been out since the All-Star break after having surgery to repair a detached retina. The Islanders have played their last 22 games without him on the ice.
"To get him back is real big," Josh Bailey said about Okposo's return. "I think at this time of the year as well, get a bunch of games under him before we really get into the stretch run here. It's going to be fun game here tonight and I'm sure he's real excited about it."
Tonight will be the first time Okposo plays in a game since January 19 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Islanders second leading points getter put up six goals and two assists in the five games leading up to the injury.
Okposo said he had some blurry vision after the Islanders final game before the All-Star Break. He went to the Eye doctor the following day and discovered he had to have emergency surgery on his eye.
"It was definitely a scary thing," Okposo said. "The [doctor] told me my vision wasn't guaranteed to come back. At that point you just start realizing what's important. It wasn't just about hockey, it was about the rest of my life."
The Islanders have gone 12-7-3 over the the 22 game span that Okposo was absent, which included two wins over the Nashville Predators. As with any player returning from an injury, Okposo expects an adjustment period as he gets back into action.
"You're going to have some nerves, some nervous energy," he said. "It will definitely be a bit of an adjustment, but I think I'll be alright."
Islanders' head coach Jack Capuano said he isn't surprised that Okposo is returning to the lineup around the six to eight week mark the Islanders originally announced for the winger. Okposo will reacquire the letter on his jersey with his return and Capuano expects him to retake the leadership role he had before he was hurt.
"Having the letter back on is real important and being a guy in that room I think he misses that. I know he likes being around his teammates," Capuano explained. "I just hope he simplifies his game tonight. It's a big, big game and big crowd.
"Just relaxed and plays his game with poise and confidence, that's what I'm hoping for [from Okposo]."