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Rangers’ Staal resumes skating

New York Rangers v Atlanta Thrashers

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 11: Marc Staal #18 of the New York Rangers reacts after being called for a penalty against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on February 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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An encouraging development out of New York regarding the health of Rangers defenseman Marc Staal: ESPN New York’s Katie Strang reports that Staal has started skating at the Rangers’ practice facility in Westchester.

Staal had been in shutdown mode (per doctor’s orders) since Oct. 16 after attempting to return from a concussion suffered on a hit from his brother, Eric.

On Nov. 18, concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu gave Staal the green light to resume limited physical activity -- light workouts and stationary biking -- which in itself was a big development. Staal had been plagued by exertion-related headaches after workouts, so medical clearance was a big first step in his recovery.

Returning to the ice was another key step. And while Strang notes it’s a “significant [one] in Staal’s lengthy road to recovery,” it’s believed he’s still a long way from returning to game action.

Translation: Don’t expect him in the lineup when New York travels to Philadelphia for the Winter Classic.