Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Zac Rinaldo is "close to returning." When diagnosed with a left high ankle sprain on Jan. 9, Rinaldo was expected to miss 6 weeks.

Since Rinaldo was not added to the long-term injury list, he can be activated at any time. He participated in a full practice again yesterday.

"Skating is great," Rinaldo said afterward. "The ankle is tender in some spots, but that's part of the healing process."

Rinaldo said he would like to be back before the NHL's 16-day Olympic break. He is likely to make the trip with the Flyers to the West Coast this week.

As for the Flyers' 2-5-2 record without him, Rinaldo smiled when asked if the losses had anything to do with his absence.

"The proof is in the pudding," Rinaldo joked. "It will get better. It always does."

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