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Skinner practices, could play Thursday: report

by NHL.com Staff / NHL.com

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner took part in the morning skate Tuesday and could return to the lineup as early as Thursday at the New York Rangers, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Skinner wore a yellow no-contract jersey and centered Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk, the latter two of whom will constitute the Hurricanes' fourth line Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Skinner has dealt with two prior concussions, missing 16 games during the 2011-12 season and five games in 2012-13. He sustained the latest concussion in Carolina's preseason finale, Oct. 5 against the Washington Capitals.

"I think I can sort of compare it to my previous two," Skinner said, according to the News & Observer. "I think early on it looked like it was going to be not as bad as I've had in the past, which was encouraging.

"Obviously with these things you never know, but there have been a lot of positive steps. Obviously being out there with the guys was another positive step and a big step. It was nice to get out there."

The Hurricanes started the season with consecutive losses to the New York Islanders and have dealt with a rash of injuries, including an upper-body injury that will sideline captain Eric Staal on Tuesday.

Skinner's presence in the lineup could make a big difference, but he understands he can't rush back from a concussion.

"It's a concern, but for me the rehab here is top-notch," Skinner said, according to the News & Observer. For me, as long as I can come back and recover fully and have that in my mind, you have that confidence to go back out there. It's a physical game. I think everyone knows there's going to be injuries. You want to try and avoid them as much as you can but they happen."

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