Marc Staal has been cleared for light physical activity, according to the New York Post's Larry Brooks. This is significant progress for the New York Rangers defenseman, who has not skated since sustaining a concussion on Feb. 22 of last season on a check from his brother, Eric.
The Rangers (10-3-3) have won seven straight games and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. Even without Staal patrolling the blue line, New York leads the NHL in goals against, allowing just two scores per game.
More details from Brooks:
After expressing optimism through camp that Staal would possibly be able to join the team for the opening two games of the season in Stockholm on Oct. 7 and 8, the Rangers have been silent on the matter for weeks.
Before visiting Dr. Cantu last month, Staal had undergone repeated acupuncture treatments and had taken a cortisone injection in the neck in attempts to accelerate his recovery.
While the approval to begin light activity implies that Staal was symptom-free while sedentary, there is obviously no guarantee he will remain so as he exercises.
There is still no timetable for Staal's return. Staal, 24, was an All-Star in 2010-2011.
ProHockeyTalk's Joe Yerdon said that the Rangers would be wise to take their time with Staal:
Staal won’t be worth anything to them if he rushes back and continues to have problems. For now, this is a great progressive step for Staal in getting back and like we’ve seen with Sidney Crosby and David Perron, making progress is the key and avoiding setbacks is mandatory for getting back sooner than not.
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