Dec 14, 2013, 7:36 PM EST
Richards points out that Thomas, 39, is eligible to return in a Dec. 20 game against the Winnipeg Jets. Naturally, that doesn’t mean he’ll be good to go by then, though.
Blame it on age or the rust that came with skipping the 2012-13 season (or a combination of the two factors), but Thomas has been hobbled by lower-body injuries this season. He missed four games in October and six more in November with lower-body ailments. At least one of the two problems were groin-related.
The Panthers have leaned heavily upon Thomas when he has been healthy. He played in all but one game from Nov. 9 to Dec. 10.
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