Avs get perennial star, leading scorer back

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forward Paul Kariya, out since Nov. 15 with a sprained right wrist, and Joe Sakic, who missed Sunday's game with a fractured jaw, will play in Tuesday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, team officials said Monday.

Kariya has missed the last 21 games, and 31 overall, since first spraining his wrist against Boston on Oct. 21. He returned Nov. 13 against Phoenix, but two days later he re-injured it in the first period against Dallas. He has been taking part in full practices the last five days.

Kariya will wear a brace against the Blue Jackets, he said.

"I'll wear it for the first couple of games and go from there," he said.

Sakic, the Avs' leading scorer (42 points), took a puck in the jaw against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 31. He left the game but returned, and he played Friday against the Vancouver Canucks and scored a goal.

Sakic underwent surgery to have a plate put in after the team returned home from the two-game road trip Saturday. He practiced Monday with a full, clear facemask, which he also will wear Tuesday.

The return of the two stars means the Avs have all their top six forwards together since that 4-1 loss to Boston.