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Mike Modano's Return Uncertain

When Mike Modano suffered a rib injury on opening night on October 3rd, it was first thought he's miss just a week at most. Then doctor's discovered what was a "small crack" in the rib and the timetable expanded a bit. Lately Modano has been upgraded to "day to day" as he's skated and participated in practices, reportedly looking sharp and fast in the process.

Apparently, there's been a setback.

``I tried a one-timer from (Mike) Ribeiro, and it just fell apart,'' Modano said of a tweak to a rib injury that has kept him out since the first game of the season.

And so the Stars center went from thinking he would be in the lineup Monday against the Kings to not knowing when he might return. He said he doubts he will be on the Stars' three-game road trip that starts Wednesday in Anaheim and lists himself as ``day to day for the next month."

``It's so frustrating,'' he said. ``It's this little rib thing, and you would think it would be no big deal, but you just can't play when you tweak it. It literally is killing you when you try to play.''

As soon as I heard Modano had a cracked rib, however small, I knew we would be playing this game. It's a nagging injury that takes time to fully heal, and a week is just too short a time for a player his age to realistically return that soon.

Brad Richards and Steve Ott will make the trip to California and both are likely to play on Wednesday. There is still no timetable for Jere Lehtinen's return, which is supposedly 'soon.'