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Patrick Sharp back with Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp returned to practice on Friday, his first time back since undergoing an emergency appendectomy Sept. 12, and declared himself nearly ready for game action.

"I felt good," Sharp said after practice. "As far as a return, I wish I could give you a date. I've felt better every 24 hours since the surgery. A noticeable difference. If that continues, I'd like to think I can play pretty soon."

Sharp had the procedure after feeling discomfort beginning two day earlier.

"They said the next 24 to 48 hours it was going to get bad," Sharp said. "If that had been the case I would have been out much longer."

Coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw in Sharp, who ran through drills with his teammates for the first time, but declared him out for the Blackhawks' final two preseason games.

"He looked good," Quenneville said. "He was skating well. The way we're going to look at him is we're going to get him in practices all next week. We're hopeful he'll be able to start."

The Blackhawks open the regular season Oct. 7 in Dallas. Sharp says if he progresses the way he has, he thinks he will be ready.

"I got that excitement back today," he said. "It feels like Day 1 for me. I don't think I've been excited for a pregame skate in a long time."

Always one to chirp with buddy Patrick Kane, Sharp made his first public assessment of Kane playing center.

"I had my doubts early on," Sharp said jokingly. "I have no questions in my mind he can play the position. He's an elite player. ... I was most impressed with his faceoff percentage. I had an over/under of one or two wins. He ended up with eight."

If Kane continues on a positive path at center, Quenneville said he will put Sharp on the wing to open the season. It's a less physically demanding position, especially for a player coming off an injury. Sharp said if he played wing for 82 games, he could see himself passing his career high of 36 goals, set last season.

The Blackhawks continue the preseason against the Penguins on Friday night.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.