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Patrick Sharp expected to return to Stars on Saturday

Dallas forward likely to be in lineup after missing 14 games with concussion

by Sean Shapiro / Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars forward Patrick Sharp is expected to be back in the lineup against the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center on Saturday.

Sharp hasn't played since sustaining a concussion on a hit by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb on Oct. 20. He has missed 14 games.

Sharp started practicing with the Stars last week.

"Patrick, from my understanding, is ready to go," coach Lindy Ruff said after practice Friday. "I'll just confirm that later today with him and make sure he got through today OK. And I would anticipate he would be back."

Sharp skated on a line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn in practice and said he's completely symptom-free. He added that the recovery has been a frustrating process.

"Most injuries you can circle a date and be close within a week or two. With the injury I sustained it was kind of a day-to-day thing," Sharp said. "It's something I thought I experienced in the past, but not like this. Mentally I feel like I'm strong, focused and ready to join the team."

Sharp said patience is vital when dealing with a concussion. Early in the process he felt fine off the ice, but the moment he started skating he'd be back to square one."

"You hear some scary stories from guys around the League, talk to former teammates, current teammates, guys who have been through the same situation and get as much information as you can," Sharp said. "It's a helpless feeling."

The Stars are getting closer to full strength after battling injuries during the early part of the season.

Forward Jason Spezza returned this week after dealing with a lower-body injury, and center Cody Eakin (knee) made his season debut in a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Sharp's return creates more internal competition among the forwards. Dallas sent rookie Gemel Smith to the American Hockey League on Friday.

"We have one extra forward now with Sharp coming in. We really haven't had that luxury for a long period of time," Ruff said. "There will be an availability to flip some guys in and out up front."

The Stars have forwards Jiri Hudler (illness), Ales Hemsky (hip), and Mattias Janmark (knee) on injured reserve.

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