Jordan Staal back at practice after COVID-19 diagnosis
Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Hurricanes' Jordan Staal back at practice after COVID-19 diagnosis

The Carolina Hurricanes are progressing toward potentially returning to action versus the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. 

As Chip Alexander of the News & Observer explained, Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal was back on the practice ice on Tuesday for the first time since he was added to the league's NHL COVID-19 protocol list on Jan. 15. Staal later tested positive for the coronavirus but dealt with what he said were minor symptoms. 

In total, six Carolina players were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list over the past two weeks. The Hurricanes haven't competed since notching a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Jan. 18 and have had four straight games postponed.

It's unknown if Carolina will be cleared to host Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Hurricanes are set to welcome the Dallas Stars to town for games on Saturday and Sunday. 

“No one wants to be ‘that guy’ and clearly that was me for the most part bringing it in the room," Staal explained about being the first Carolina player added to the list amid the apparent outbreak. "It was trying to be safe and it’s unfortunate. I feel bad for the guys that are sitting in hotel rooms right now. It’s not fun.

"Everyone has been careful but now taking it even more serious. We don’t want to lose any more man-games and lose guys going forward. It’s not easy sitting there for long and jumping back into it. We’ve got to make sure we’re on top of it."

Staal added he does not know how he contracted the coronavirus. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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