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Zach Parise returning to Wild lineup Thursday after missing 14 games

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Parise has missed the last 14 games for Minnesota. (Getty Images)
Parise has missed the last 14 games for Minnesota. (Getty Images)

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Zach Parise hasn't played in any of the Minnesota Wild's last 14 games. That streak will not extend to 15.

Parise, who has been nursing what was believed to be a fractured foot, was placed on injured reserve by the Wild back in the end of December. The last game he played was Dec. 22. After making some strides in his recovery, optimism crept up on Wednesday that Parise was ready for a return. On Thursday he said he was ready to give it a go for Thursday night's game at home against Chicago.

The Wild have actually fared relatively well without Parise in the lineup, especially of late as they have gone 7-3-0 in their last 10 games. That doesn't mean that arguably their best goal scorer won't be welcomed back with open arms, especially when the Wild are 13th out of 14 teams in the West in terms of scoring.

It's also excellent news for Team USA, who will be counting on Parise being healthy in Sochi. By returning Thursday he will have seven games to get up to speed before the Olympic break hits, which should be enough time to shake off the rust and get back in the true swing of things.

Parise hasn't been sitting idly by this whole time, though. He found some time to model the uniform Team USA will be wearing at the Olympics. After seeing what he had to sport for the camera, no wonder he couldn't wait to get back on the ice and playing for the Wild.

Parise has 15 goals and 12 assists this season in 37 games, those 15 goals still good enough for second on the team despite missing 15 games in total.

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