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NHL Anaheim DucksLos Angeles Kings

Could Drew Doughty Return To Kings Lineup On Thursday?

After the disappointment that was Tuesday’s loss at the hands of the Devils, the Kings got some good news on Wednesday, relating to Drew Doughty.

Reports are that Doughty had his no-contact jersey off and was donning the black jersey back at practice. That means that Doughty was cleared to practice at full contact with the team.

Doughty has been out of the lineup since October 15th, against the Philadelphia Flyers. He took a brutal open ice hit from Zac Rinaldo, and was diagnosed with an upper-body injury, which was obviously related to his shoulder.

With Doughty cleared for contact, the next step becomes whether or not he will be ready for one of the Kings’ next two road games, which are Thursday and Saturday.

As Mike Halford over at Pro Hockey Talk points out, the Kings could definitely use Doughty’s offensive presence. The team has just three goals in their last three games, none of which came in their shutout loss to New Jersey on Tuesday.

But Terry Murray has been pretty adamant about the fact that he won’t rush Doughty back. Even before he had been cleared, Doughty was pronouncing himself ready to return. That said, the return to contact certainly increases his chances of playing on Thursday.

The big news is that Doughty is making the teams three-game road trip, which goes from Dallas, to Phoenix, and concludes in Colorado. The fact that he’s even making the trip means Doughty will be in the lineup at some point in the next week.

It’s hard to imagine him out past Saturday, but I would not be surprised at all if Doughty was back in action against Dallas on Thursday night. The Stars have played well of late, save their 1-0 loss to the Kings on Saturday, and Thursday’s tilt provides a big division matchup early in the season.

Either way, we’ll know his status early Thursday, ahead of the 5:30 puck drop, Dallas time.