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Rafalski practices, could play Game 6

by Eric Stephens / Detroit Red Wings
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski, who hasn’t played since the first round against Columbus, practiced on Monday for the first time and is a game-time decision for Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against Anaheim.

"Obviously if the coaches and myself feel I can contribute in any way, there's a good chance I'll play," Rafalski said.

Rafalski has not played against the Ducks after suffering an undisclosed upper-body injury during the rest period following the four-game sweep of Columbus. The veteran puck-moving defender, who normally plays on the top pairing alongside captain Nicklas Lidstrom, did skate on Sunday.

"It is what it is," said Rafalski, who's been intentionally vague about his injury and recovery period. "Until you get on the ice, you really can't tell when I’ll be able to play.

"Practice went well today. I skated yesterday for about 25 minutes. A little longer today. If everything responds, we’ll see what happens tomorrow."

Rafalski said he'll skate again Tuesday morning and then discuss how he feels with the Detroit coaching staff.

"How I feel tomorrow come game time will help determine if I'm ready," he said. "Two days of skating is good. It’s more than having no days of skating. Not as good as having four days of skating."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock confirmed that Rafalski is a possibility for Game 6 but ruled out veteran center Kris Draper, who has not played at all in the postseason because of an upper-body injury.

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