Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom was elbowed in the jaw by Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque on January 3, and has not set foot on the ice in a game since the injury. The team has been cautious with Backstrom, treating him the same as they did teammate Jay Beagle when he suffered a concussion. It appears the team is now comfortable with Backstrom returning to practice.
#Caps spokesman says Nicklas Backstrom has been cleared for full participation in practice, no restrictions.— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) March 24, 2012
Even with Backstrom being cleared to fully participate in practice, the team might continue to move him along slowly, rightly being cautious for the sake of his long-term health and future in the league.