Ribeiro practices, eyes return to action

1/27/2010 - NHL Mike Ribeiro Dallas Stars + more

DALLAS -- Stars forward Mike Ribeiro was on the ice with his teammates Wednesday for the first time since he was hit in the throat by a stick on Jan. 6.

Ribeiro said he hopes to be able to return in time for a three-game road trip in mid-February, right before the Olympic break.

He was hit in the throat by Rangers forward Christopher Higgins' stick and hasn't played since. Ribeiro said he talked to Higgins right after the incident and knows it was accidental.

"It was a weird injury and you don't see it often," Ribeiro said. "The odds of getting hit there again are pretty long, but it's a matter of getting my head clear and focus on my game and not be scared to get hurt again. That will come with practice and getting physical in practice."

Ribeiro has been skating on his own, but Wednesday was the first day he was on the ice with the team. Stars coach Marc Crawford said Ribeiro will see the doctors and determine if he can be cleared to practice with the team. At this point, he hasn't even been cleared for contact drills.

Ribeiro has 33 points in 43 games and is minus-5. He is second on the team with 23 assists.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail him at richard.durrett@espn3.com.