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Friday, February 5, 2010
Modano plans to test knee in practice

By Richard Durrett
ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO -- Dallas Stars center Mike Modano, who sat out Thursday's game with a left knee injury, will not know until Saturday morning if he can play against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"I'll see how it feels," Modano said. "There's no structural damage. I just landed on it akwardly halfway through the first period of the Minnesota game [Tuesday]. It just got tighter during the next 24 hours. There is just discomfort in the joints."

Modano is expected to skate in the morning to determine if he can play against Phoenix at 5 p.m. CT at American Airlines Center. Modano, 39, decided not to skate Friday to save his energy.

"He's going to try it in the morning and see where he's at, but we're real hopeful," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "He is such a big part of our scoring right now."

Modano has seven goals and nine points in his last 10 games for the Stars. His ice time also has increased to about 17 minutes a game as he helps fill the void left by Mike Ribeiro, who has missed five weeks with a throat injury.

"I think the majority of those goals have been because I'm getting the puck in really good scoring areas," Modano said. "In the past, they'd come every once in a while. Lately, there are four or five good chances where I get clear shots in the slot or I have time to get off a decent shot on net. I've had some nice rebounds come back to me when I've been in front of the net. It's just one of those periods where you feel like the puck is coming at you at the perfect time."

Ribeiro skated Friday and is nearing a return. The Stars are targeting Tuesday at Chicago for Ribeiro to play for the first time since he was hit in the throat by a stick on Jan. 6 in New York against the Rangers.

"I don't expect to play 20 minutes the first game I come back," Ribeiro said. "It depends how I feel Tuesday morning, but if I can go 10 to 15 minutes and gradually play more, that would be good. I want to at least have played in a few games before the break so I know I can do it and feel comfortable before the Olympic break. If it's not Tuesday, we'll try for Thursday."

Ribeiro participated in some contact drills Friday and spent some extra time working out on the ice with the coaching staff.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.