Stars' Kari Lehtonen likely to return

Updated: December 15, 2010, 2:41 PM ET
By Mark Stepneski | ESPNDallas.com

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last four games with a sore back, practiced Wednesday and there's a "strong possibility" he'll return for Thursday's game, coach Marc Crawford said.

Lehtonen, who was on the ice for about 45 mintues and then did some off-ice work, could be back in goal Thursday night when the Stars take on the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

"Kari looks like he is getting more and more ready to play," Crawford said Wednesday. "There is a strong possibility for tomorrow. If he's ready, he'll go. He was very positive today on his outing. ... He looked really good."

Another sign that Lehtonen is close to being ready is that the Stars have sent Richard Bachman back to the Texas Stars of the AHL. Bachman was called up last week when Lehtonen went out.

"It was good," Lehtonen said after practice. "The last couple days were pretty much normal. It feels good. Hopefully, I can keep myself together."

In other injury news, Stars captain Brenden Morrow didn't practice because he was having his broken nose set. Crawford anticipated he'd be ready to play.

Also, Toby Petersen (hand) and Krys Barch (ankle/foot) appear ready and could be available for Thursday's game.

Mark Stepneski covers the Stars for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

Mark Stepneski

ESPNDallas.com
Mark Stepneski joined ESPNDallas.com in July 2010. A former news/special projects producer for KXAS-TV, he has run the Andrew's Dallas Stars Page website since 1997.

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