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Staal returns to practice for Hurricanes @NHLdotcom

Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal practiced Sunday for the first time since leaving a game Jan. 4 against the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury.

Prior to the injury, the Hurricanes' captain had played in 191 consecutive games since Feb. 26, 2011. He has missed just 15 games because of injury in 10 NHL seasons, including 10 in 2009-10.

Eric Staal
Center - CAR
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 25 | PTS: 35
SOG: 115 | +/-: -15
"I'm feeling good now, and it's getting better," Staal told reporters. "I would be completely ineffective if I would have stayed trying to get it done. I tried. A huge part of my game is skating and using my power, speed and size. With what I had going on, I wasn't able to do that.

"It was smart to take a step back when I did, and now I'm feeling a lot better."

It's not determined if Staal will be in the lineup Monday against the Calgary Flames. Coach Kirk Muller called the practice "a good push," and will wait and see how Staal's body responds.

"We want to be smart," Muller said. "We have [four] days off after [Monday], so we want to make sure if he's ready to go, it's nothing that sets him back."

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