Downie cleared to return to ice for Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche right wing Steve Downie has recovered from the torn anterior cruciate knee ligament he sustained in the second game of last season and will take part in on-ice workouts Thursday.

Downie, 26, is expected to skate on the third line this season with rookie center Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Jamie McGinn.

"He's cleared to play," Roy said of Downie. "I met him in June and he took [his rehabilitation] very seriously, and I'm very proud of him. He really worked hard and he's ready to play. He's an important player for us. His game is something that this team needs."

Downie had two goals, 11 assists and 16 penalty minutes in 20 games the previous season with the Avalanche. The Avalanche acquired him from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 21, 2012 in exchange for defenseman Kyle Quincey, who was sent to the Detroit Red Wings to complete a three-team trade.