Abdominal injury improving for center

Updated: December 22, 2003, 6:03 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forsberg took part in his first full practice in days Monday and said the abdominal injury that has kept him out of the last 18 games is getting better.

The struggling Avalanche (0-2-3 in the last five games) wouldn't say if Forsberg will play Friday in St. Louis or Saturday at home against Philadelphia.

"It's good, a step in the right direction," Forsberg said after the 90-minute workout. "We'll see how long it takes, but it definitely feels better."

Forsberg, last year's Hart Trophy winner, has taken part in limited drills with the team, but Monday was the first time he took contact. He also skated hard at the end of the practice.

"Hopefully this was a step in the right direction with this practice and he can get back in there," coach Tony Granato said.

Forsberg has not played since Nov. 9 and has missed 21 games overall because of the injury. Granato said he doesn't think Forsberg needs more contact in practice before being cleared to play.

Paul Kariya, who has missed the last 15 games with a sprained right wrist, skated alone after the Avs practiced and will not play this weekend.

Forward Alex Tanguay missed the last two games with a thigh bruise, but Granato said he was keeping him out of the lineup to give him a full week to heal. Tanguay will probably play against the Blues on Friday. ... Forward Jim Cummins and defenseman Martin Skoula put in some extra work Monday, two days after less-than perfect performances. Skoula played just 3:24 at Los Angeles after a slow start Saturday, and Cummins racked up 37 penalty minutes in the 3-3 tie. Cummins put the Kings on the power play by getting three 10-minute majors and a two-minute instigator penalty with 4:20 left in the second period, and the Kings took a 3-2 lead less than three minutes later. "When you take a seven-minute penalty, that's unacceptable, especially at a key point of the game," Granato said. "He knows that, I know that." As for Skoula, "certainly we'd like to see more consistency out of him. When it's not there and he has to sit and watch for a majority of the game, hopefully the next game he responds the right way."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press