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Good news in Carolina: Skinner cleared for contact

Jan 11, 2012, 12:12 PM EDT

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Jeff Skinner Getty Images

Concussion recovery is a hard thing and Carolina’s Jeff Skinner is getting a lot better.

Skinner was cleared for contact today by the Hurricanes staff and was back on the ice this morning at practice. Skinner has missed 14 games since being put out of action thanks to a dirty hit from Edmonton’s Andy Sutton, a hit that earned Sutton an eight-game suspension.

When Skinner left the Canes’ lineup, he was the team’s leading point producer and now upon his return he’s second behind captain Eric Staal. Meanwhile, Carolina has fallen back hard in the East sitting dead last in the conference one point behind the Islanders. To say they could use a lift from Skinner would be an understatement as they’re 11 points behind Pittsburgh for eighth in the East.

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