The 24-year-old right wing, who signed a three-year, US$19 million contract last summer, has been missed by the Wild, who were 6-0 when he got hurt on Oct. 20 at Anaheim. They went 15-18-2 without him, including the 2-1 loss against the Ducks that he left in the third period.
The Wild originally pegged his recovery time as 10 to 14 days, but Gaborik – who sat out 17 games last season with a groin injury – was slow to heal. He joined his teammates for practice briefly in early December, but still had trouble and went back to rehabilitation.
After frequent visits to specialists and hours and hours of skating on his own, Gaborik finally was in uniform again for Minnesota’s game against Colorado. The crowd at Xcel Energy Center gave him a loud cheer when he stepped on the ice for the Wild’s fourth shift in the first period.