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Nathan MacKinnon will play for Avalanche on Thursday

Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon

DENVER, COLORADO - MARCH 23: Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche shoots against the Vancouver Canucks at Ball Arena on March 23, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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Some good injury news for the Colorado Avalanche for a change as head coach Jared Bednar announced that Nathan MacKinnon will be back in the lineup on Thursday night when the team plays the San Jose Sharks.

MacKinnon missed Tuesday’s game against the Calgary Flames with an upper-body injury. The team originally said concern was “high” for the injury. He was seemingly injured in a fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Mathew Dumba over the weekend.

The Avalanche ended up winning Tuesday’s game without MacKinnon by a 2-1 margin.

[Related: NHL Injuries: Mrazek out 6 weeks, Campbell return close; Kotkaniemi sidelined]

Injuries have been a problem for the Avalanche this season, including recently as Gabriel Landeskog and Samuel Girard are both sidelined for the foreseeable future.

MacKinnon has 70 total points (22 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games this season for the Avalanche.

Even with the injuries this season Colorado still enters play on Thursday with a 14-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division and a 12-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the top spot in the Western Conference. They also have a four-point lead in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. They would be the third team in the salary cap era (joining the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks) to win it two years in a row.