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Gaborik (collarbone) preparing as if he can return for Columbus on Thursday

Feb 25, 2014, 10:32 PM EDT

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Marian Gaborik AP

Marian Gaborik wasn’t able to heal up enough to participate in the 2014 Olympics, but it sounds like he’ll be back from a broken collarbone before the trade deadline.

The Columbus Blue Jackets’ Web site reports that Gaborik is preparing as if he’ll be ready to go on Thursday. That doesn’t mean the 32-year-old is guaranteed to suit up for that specific game, but it implies that he could be back soon.

“Obviously games are totally different than practice, and it’s hard to mimic a lot of things in practice,” Gaborik said. “But I feel good enough to jump back in and have a good practice tomorrow, then we’ll go from there.”

He already missed 22 games since that injury, which came in his first game back from another ailment. (Gaborik has dealt with such bad injury luck quite a few times in his NHL career, sadly.)

Here’s the Blue Jackets’ schedule before the trade deadline, which very well may act as an audition for the veteran winger, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to return to the Blue Jackets:

Thursday: at New Jersey
Saturday: vs. Florida
Monday: at Toronto
Tuesday: vs. Dallas

Those three or four games could very well convince a team to roll the dice on the speedy winger, as the Blue Jackets did last season.

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