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Canucks D Keith Ballard nears return, will be game-time decision Monday


James O’Brien

You know, it didn’t really feel like Keith Ballard was a “true” Vancouver Canucks defenseman until he finally suffered an injury.

The former Florida Panthers defenseman missed some time after an October 15 concussion, but the Vancouver Province reports that the valuable blueliner could very well return this week after passing many of the hurdles associated with recovering from a head injury. He might even play as early as Monday.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said that Ballard will be a game-time decision tomorrow morning.

“I would say he might be a game-time decision come tomorrow morning,” Vigneault added. “He felt really good yesterday (Saturday) and has been doing off-ice work for a few days now. He practised yesterday with the group, pracised today with the group, so we’ll see how he is tomorrow and decide then.”

Ballard was traded from the Florida Panthers with Victor Oreskovich to the Canucks in exchange for Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and the 25th pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Quinton Howden). He has zero points in four games this season after playing all 82 games in 2009-10 to earn eight goals, 28 points and a -7 rating.