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Zajac cleared for practice, full contact

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac is one step closer to returning to the lineup.

"Travis has been given the OK from the doctor to start practicing with the team and have contact," Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced today.

Zajac took part in today's morning skate, but there is no timetable for his return. The Devils were set to host Colorado at 7 p.m.

"It was good," Zajac said after an extended on-ice session. "These are the skates I'm going to have to be doing for the next little while to get back, especially at this time of year."

Zajac had offseason Achilles tendon surgery and missed the first 30 games of the regular season. He returned for eight appearances, scoring a goal and two assists, but has not played since Jan. 2.

"As time went on, I was just getting a little sore, was getting a little weakness," he said. "I think the safest thing for me to do was to take a little time and recover a little longer. That was the key."

He's more confident in where he stands now.

"That's obviously why I took the time off, I didn't want to keep having setbacks or soreness, and continue doing rehab throughout the year," Zajac said. "I wanted to make sure I got it right and was a hundred percent. I felt like it last time, but for whatever reason it didn't react the way it felt it was going to. Over time, the longer I rested and rehabbed, the better it felt."

Zach Parise said it will be encouraging to have Zajac back at practice.

"It'll be really nice," Parise said. "I think we've done pretty well in his absence, and it'll only get better when we get him in the lineup. Let's make sure he's healthy this time and let's make sure he's ready to go. Whenever that time will be, it'll be good to get him back."
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