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Associated Press
1/29/2007 8:17:44 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Mike Modano is close to returning to the Dallas Stars lineup for the first time in more than a month.

In fact, he could be back as soon as Tuesday night.

Modano, who has missed 23 games since Dec. 4 with a hip-groin injury, skated hard again during practice Monday here, where the Stars play against the Shark in their next two games. The former captain felt good after the workout and said he would play if he felt the same Tuesday.

''I'm as close as I'm going to get, so the sooner I can get back in, the better,'' Modano said.

Stars coach Dave Tippett said Modano would be re-evaluated Tuesday before a decision on his playing status would be made.

''We aren't going to take any chances, but he's getting close and he's gone at it hard every day the past week,'' Tippett said.

The Stars play the Sharks on Tuesday and Thursday, and are at St. Louis on Saturday.

''It's more of a mental thing where I want to feel 100 per cent comfortable and confident. Until I get into a game, I won't know for sure,'' Modano said. ''I've just been waiting to feel completely healthy as far as speed and explosiveness go, and I've been getting close the last few days.

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