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Winter Classic 2012: Marc Staal Returns To Rangers After Injury

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 1: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers skates during practice for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 1: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers skates during practice for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal made his return to the lineup after a nearly yearlong absence from a concussion.

Staal, who turns 25 in January, has been out all season because of the effects of a concussion sustained in February when he was hit by his brother, Eric, a forward for the Carolina Hurricanes. He has been skating this month and was cleared for light contact.

Staal was set to make his debut Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic.

Rangers Coach John Tortorella said on Saturday that nothing had changed and he did not expect Staal to play. Staal practiced Saturday and was on the ice for warmups before the Flyers game.

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