Team targeting possible return Monday or Wednesday

Updated: March 16, 2007, 11:41 AM ET news services

Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan could be back in the lineup early next week, the New York Post reported Friday.

The report added that Shanahan, who has been out since suffering a concussion in a Feb. 17 game, was practicing Thursday without a yellow jersey for injured players.

Rangers coach Tom Renney told the newspaper the team has circled Monday's game against Pittsburgh or Wednesday's against Philadelphia as possible return dates for Shanahan.

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"He and I and our medical team all understand that there's a bit of a process here," Renney told the Post. "Rather than compromise him by putting him out there too early, we have to make sure he's in a position to really help us."

Shanahan and Mike Knuble slammed into each other during a game on Feb. 17 as they crossed paths near the benches. They were following the puck and never saw each other before the big impact sent both to the ice. The following week, Knuble had surgery to repair fractures to his orbital bone and cheekbone.

Shanahan appeared to be unconscious before he fell. The collision jostled his loose helmet forward and didn't give the back of his head much protection when it struck the ice. He came to after several minutes and was wheeled out on a stretcher as cheers of "Shanny, Shanny" rained down from the rafters.

"I don't remember any of it, any of the shift or the collision. I've seen it," said Shanahan, who spent one night in the hospital. "The first thing I remembered, it was actually kind of a nice feeling. I heard the fans chanting my name. They kind of woke me up. The reason why it was a nice feeling was because I thought maybe I scored."

He didn't, and the Rangers lost 5-3 to the Flyers.

After Thursday's action, the Rangers were in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, just two points out of a playoff spot.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.