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May be ready to go Friday vs. Blues

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche may be on the verge of
getting a big holiday present: Peter Forsberg, who hasn't played in
weeks because of an abdominal injury.

Last year's Hart Trophy winner took part in his first full
practice Monday and will be with the team when it plays again
Friday at St. Louis. Whether Forsberg will be in the game is
another question.

"It's not 100 percent yet," he said. "(The pain is) still
there a little bit, but I'm doing more and more and there have been
no setbacks so far. I've never had an abdominal/groin injury like
this, but everybody tells me, just don't reinjure it."

Colorado is still among the leaders in the Northwest Division,
but is in the midst of its first five-game winless streak (0-2-3)
in more than two years. Forsberg has missed the past 18 games and
21 of the past 23, while star winger Paul Kariya has missed 25 of
the past 27 with a wrist injury.

Forsberg won't be rushed back, coach Tony Granato said.

"He's skating pretty good; he's getting better," he said.
"Again, we'll wait for medical clearance for him, but obviously
being able to practice with us and get a few good days under his
belt will help him."

Forsberg said his injury isn't as severe as the one that
sidelined Milan Hejduk for three months in the 2001-02 season.

"It wasn't like his," Forsberg said. "I didn't have the same
symptoms."

The Avalanche will need all its weapons to keep pace with
Vancouver and Calgary: After Christmas, Colorado plays 22 games in
42 days and has four sets of back-to-back games. And following the
All-Star break, the Avalanche plays every other day except for a
two-day reprise in March.