Marc Staal Injury: Rangers Defenseman Cleared For Contact, Won't Rule Out Winter Classic Return

NEW YORK NY - JANUARY 05: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers skates against his brother Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on January 5 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Marc Staal was cleared for contact Monday as he continues his slow recovery from a concussion suffered last February. He hopes to return to the Rangers' lineup in time for the 2012 Winter Classic against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Finally some good news for Marc Staal. He was cleared for contact Monday after having spent the entire 2011-12 season so far on the bench due to a concussion. While he won't play in Monday night's game against the New York Islanders, Staal may be able to return in time to face off against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 2 for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Staal is still feeling the effects of the hit by his brother, Eric, sustained against the Carolina Hurricanes last February. Marc Staal was shut down during training camp in September, and has since been undergoing the slow recovery process associated with nagging concussion symptoms. Now that he is back taking contact, conditioning may be the biggest factor holding Staal back from returning to the Rangers' lineup.

For more on the Winter Classic, be sure to head over SB Nation's Rangers blog, Blueshirt Banter, and Flyers blog, Broad Street Hockey.

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