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Jeff Carter skates briefly, could return during ECF

Jeff Carter

in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Matt Slocum

Jeff Carter could end up playing in the Eastern Conference finals, some say as early as Game 2. He skated for the first time since a Chris Pronger slapper broke Carter’s foot during Game 4 of Philadelphia’s series with the New Jersey Devils. has the lowdown.

Jeff Carter, who hasn’t skated since breaking his right foot during Game 4 of the Flyers’ first-round series against the New Jersey Devils, skated briefly on his own at the team’s Voorhees, N.J., facility prior to the team’s practice Monday.

Carter was on the ice for about 15 minutes, skating laps and shooting pucks before returning to the locker room prior to the rest of the team practicing.

A source told Comcast SportsNet-Philadelphia’s John Boruk that there is an outside chance Carter could play in Game 2 of the conference finals Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS), but that Game 3 Thursday could be a better option. A report on TSN has a source saying Carter will be back “later” in the series.

It sounds like Game 2 might be a bit ambitious, but the Flyers would definitely benefit from the return of their leading goal scorer (33 this season despite missing eight games with a different foot injury) whenever he does come back. The playoffs, after all, are a time when hockey players don’t just fight through pain but also injuries that normally would have them on the sidelines.

Expect more information on Carter’s status as news trickles in, whether that be tomorrow, this week or later on in the series.