Richards breaks left hand in return

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Brad Richards returned to the Stars' lineup Saturday after missing 15 games because of a wrist injury, but the former playoff MVP then broke his other hand in the third period of Dallas' loss to San Jose.

The center again is out indefinitely with a spiral fracture in his left hand, dealing another heavy blow to the Stars' fading playoff hopes. The eighth-year pro is Dallas' third-leading scorer with 48 points despite his five-week absence.

"That's not good news," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "You just have to get back at it and find a way to get points."

Richards had a minus-2 rating in just over 15 minutes against the Sharks while playing on a line with Loui Eriksson and Brendan Morrison. The Stars didn't say when or how the latest injury occurred, but Richards skated across the Shark Tank ice to the visitors' dressing room midway through the third period.

Richards had 16 goals and 32 assists in 55 games this season before breaking his wrist during a game at Columbus on Feb. 16. Richards didn't undergo surgery, allowing the bone to heal on its own, and pushed to return to the lineup about one week before the training staff's projection.

The Stars probably will have to make their playoff push with no offensive help from Richards, who still leads the team with 179 shots. He has 16 multipoint games this season as well.

The Stars' 5-2 loss to the Sharks was their 11th in 15 games, leaving them in a three-way tie for 10th place in the Western Conference with just 10 games to go. They trail eighth-place Nashville by three points.