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Zucker (broken clavicle) returns to Wild lineup, one month earlier than expected

Tampa Bay Lightning v Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 25: Jason Zucker #16 of the Minnesota Wild celebrates after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the game on October 25, 2014 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

When Jason Zucker suffered a broken clavicle that required surgery back in early February, the Wild said he’d be sidelined for three months.

Zucker made it two.

The 23-year-old drew back into the Minnesota lineup on Tuesday night for the first time since Feb. 9, marking a fairly impressive return from an injury that, originally, looked as though it’d rule him out for the remainder of the regular season.

When news broke of Zucker’s injury/surgery, team doctors gave a 12-week timetable for recovery. But he was back on ice four weeks after sustaining the break and, tonight in Chicago, will make his return in a pretty prominent role -- on a line with Chris Stewart and Mikko Koivu.

It’s not surprising Minnesota wants to get Zucker right back into the mix. He was second to Zach Parise in goals at the time of his injury (18 to Parise’s 21) and was the team’s leading sniper at even strength. Wild head coach Mike Yeo praised Zucker’s maturation as a player this season, saying the 23-year-old’s progress “was so high this year.”