Hossa still out; expected back Thursday

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa is expected to return to the ice Thursday after sitting out practice Wednesday because of an upper-body injury, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Hossa has not played in any of the Blackhawks’ five preseason games. Quenneville said on Sept. 19 that Hossa had aggravated an injury and would miss the team’s last four preseason games. Hossa could still play in the team’s final preseason game Saturday. The Blackhawks’ season opener is on Oct. 1.

“He’s likely to get on the ice [Thursday],” Quenneville said after practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Wednesday. “He’s feeling better every day, so we like the progress. He’s excited about getting on the ice.”

Blackhawks forwards Andrew Shaw and Michal Handzus participated in Wednesday's practice. Neither has played in the preseason.

Hossa suffered a back injury during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He said one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves and he couldn't feel his right foot. He was scratched from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals and returned for the remainder of the series, but he wasn’t as effective in the final three games. Hossa said surgery was a possibility after the season, but he was able to avoid it.

Hossa said on Sept. 12 that his back was feeling better. He played in three days of scrimmages at Notre Dame but hasn’t played since Sept. 15.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said last week he wasn’t concerned that Hossa’s injury would be a lingering problem.

“I think injuries are part of the game,” Bowman said. “Marian’s been a very durable player over the years. Things come up now and then, but I’m not worried long term for that.”

Hossa has dealt with a variety of injuries since joining the Blackhawks in 2009. He had lower-body injuries in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, suffered a severe head injury during the 2012 playoffs and missed time with upper- and lower-body injuries last season.

Hossa had 17 goals and 14 assists in 40 regular-season games and seven goals and nine assists in 22 playoff games last season.