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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Updated: November 18, 2:39 PM ET
Source: Marc Staal can work out lightly

By Katie Strang
ESPNNewYork.com

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has been cleared for light physical activity, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com Thursday.

The news, first reported by the New York Post, is considered a small step in what has been a lengthy and uncertain road to recovery for the 24-year-old, who is still experiencing the effects of a concussion suffered in February.

Following an appointment Tuesday with specialist Dr. Robert Cantu, Staal was given the green light to resume physical activity, such as light workouts on the stationary bike.

Staal, who sustained the injury on a crushing hit from his brother Eric, has yet to play a game or even practice with the Rangers this season.

The alternate captain has abstained from any sort of exercise for the past four weeks in hopes that lingering symptoms would subside, an additional source confirmed.

And while the latest development is a positive sign, it is believed Staal still has a long way to go before returning to the ice.

Staal missed two games following the hit, which took place Feb. 22 against the Carolina Hurricanes -- a game in which he also suffered a knee injury. He missed three more games the following month, although the nature of his injury was not disclosed until training camp opened in September.

Staal said then that he was still experiencing exertion-related headaches after workouts.

Although the loss of Staal has been devastating -- and given the pace of recovery, it remains unclear whether he will return this season -- the Rangers have fared well enough without him, and are on a seven-game winning streak, the team's longest since October 2009.

Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPNNewYork.com.