Ryan Kesler cleared for contact

Updated: October 6, 2011, 2:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Ryan Kesler has been cleared for contact for the first time since having hip surgery a little more than two months ago, the Vancouver Canucks announced Wednesday.

Kesler practiced with the team on the eve of Vancouver's season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but there is still no timetable for his return.

"It was good. It's another step. It's a step in the right direction. I felt good out there," Kesler said after practice Wednesday.

The forward had surgery in early August to repair a torn hip labrum. Kesler also had surgery to repair a torn hip labrum in late January 2007.

Kesler said he will return when his hip is strong enough.

"Whenever I feel good, I will play," he said. "By no means do I want to limp in and play 10 minutes a night. I want to come back in and get my minutes and play with more normal linemates. I want to come back in, have an immediate impact and help the team."

Kesler, a 2010 U.S. Olympian, was injured in the last game of the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks.

He had a career-high 41 goals and added 32 assists in 82 games with the Canucks, who lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.

In 25 playoff games, he had seven goals and 12 assists.

Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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