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Vincour and Larsen getting closer to return

FRISCO -- There were seven players on the ice for the Stars optional practice Sunday, but for two of the players it was a big step as they work their way back from injury.

For right wing Tomas Vincour and defenseman Philip Larsen, it was the first time they have practiced with the team since going out of the lineup.

Vincour suffered an MCL injury in a December 15 game at the New York Islanders. He’s missed the last 13 games.

“Finally,” Vincour said of practicing with some of his teammates. “It felt pretty good. I skated before, but it always feels way better when you skate with a few guys. You’re not alone there. You don’t have to chase the puck and you can actually take some shots on the goalie. That was good.

“It’s still not 100 percent, but we are on the right track. It’s getting better every day.”

Vincour has played in 14 games for the Stars this season, registering one goal and two assists. He said he is taking things day-by-day at this point.

“It’s all up to me and how soon I am going to get into shape and how fast my leg is going to get strong again,” he said. “Like I said, day-by-day.”

Larsen suffered a concussion in the New Year’s Eve game against Boston at American Airlines Center. He’s missed the last six games.

“I feel good,” Larsen said. “It was the third time today on the ice. Of course, it’s a little bit hard on the conditioning when you’ve been out for two weeks, but I feel good. It’s really fun to be on the ice again. I I hope I can get a couple of good practices and feel like I did before I got injured.”

Larsen, who said he is symptom-free, is dealing with a concussion for the first time.

“This is the first time and hopefully the last time, too,” Larsen said. “It’s frustrating because you can’t do anything when you are used to doing stuff every day and being really active. All of a sudden you’re walking around for two weeks and barely doing anything. That’s the most frustrating thing because you feel like you’re not a hockey player. It’s hard.”

Larsen has played extremely well during his time in the NHL this season, picking up two assists and a plus-seven rating in 19 games. When he is healthy and ready to go, and assuming the rest of the defense is healthy, the Stars would have eight defensemen. That could mean a tough roster decision.

“I am not thinking about it,” Larsen said. “It’s not my decision. We just have to see what happens. I don’t know. When the time comes I think I’ll figure it out.”

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan indicated the pair could be three to four days away. As the team traveled to St. Louis for Monday’s game against the Blues, Gulutzan said Larsen and Vincour would stay behind and skate on their own in Frisco.