Daniel Carcillo practices with Hawks

Updated: February 14, 2013, 4:21 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo practiced with the team Thursday for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury in the season opener.

Carcillo had to be helped off the ice after he collided with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty against the boards in the third period on Jan. 19. It was Carcillo's first game since tearing the ACL in his left knee against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 2, 2012. He required season-ending surgery last season. The latest injury to Carcillo was to his right knee, a source told ESPNChicago.com.

Carcillo returned to skating last week and practiced with the team at the United Center on Thursday morning.

"Everything is going well," said Carcillo, who signed a two-year extension in March 2012. "Rehab went well. Feel strong on the ice. It's just a matter of when they'll make the decision and I'll get the call to go in. But I feel strong, it's encouraging."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was unsure when Carcillo would begin playing in games again, but he liked Carcillo's progress.

"We'll see after a couple of practices here," Quenneville said. "First day on the ice, I thought he looked pretty good, though. I thought he skated well, and talking to him there, he said he felt good as well. He's further along than we anticipated there, so we'll keep pushing him there. A couple good skates and get a better idea of when."

Carcillo said he tried to stay positive after suffering the consecutive injuries.

"Everything happens for a reason," Carcillo said. "I haven't found out what that reason is yet. Yet, I don't care to know. Stuff happens, you know. Just because I was out for a year, it doesn't make me exempt from getting hurt again. I just had to work hard and have a good attitude and try to get back as quick as I can."

Carcillo expected to have the same role as before. His goal is to be a physical forward who could contribute in forechecking, protect his teammates, provide energy and help out offensively.

Quenneville hasn't announced yet where he plans to put Carcillo when he returns. Carcillo skated with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews on the team's first line in the season opener and had one assist. Rookie forward Brandon Saad has replaced Carcillo on the first line since the injury.

"It's a great situation to be in when we have to make these sorts of decisions," Quenneville said. "Tougher the better, organizational and teamwise. We'll see when we have to visit that. Sometimes those decisions are made easier for you. Whether he plays where he started the season or wherever, we think we can use him in our lineup, and he can be effective, especially the way he played in the first game after not playing for a long time."

The Blackhawks signed Carcillo, 28, as a free agent in July 2011. He has 38 goals and 47 assists in 311 career games.

Quenneville said he would keep his roster at 23 players and wouldn't make any corresponding moves when Carcillo returns. Carcillo could take some ice time form forwards Jamal Mayers and Brandon Bollig. The two players have taken turns being healthy scratches from games this season.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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