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Jordan Staal practices, ‘didn’t rule out’ return by Winter Classic

Dec 26, 2010, 2:34 PM EDT

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One of the myriad compelling elements to HBO’s 24/7 coverage has been the behind the scenes looks at various banged up players, from the Washington Capitals’ flu victims to a tattooed Mike Green dealing with a knee injury and Evgeni Malkin‘s brief knee injury rehab.

Jordan Staal has gotten his fair share of screen time for not playing, as the lanky two-way forward hasn’t been able to play in a single game this season because of  recurring issues from foot surgery and a broken hand.

While it still seems like a long shot possibility, there are some murmurs around Twitter and other corners of the hockey world that Staal might be able to play in the Winter Classic on New Year’s day Saturday. Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Staal returned to practice today and “didn’t rule out” the possibility that he might be able to make his way back for a contest that isn’t even a week away.

Yohe writes that there is no time table set on his return, though, and that he didn’t actually break his hand twice as many reported. We’ll keep you updated about Staal’s status as the week(s) progress.

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