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Minnesota Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster aiming to play within a month

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Rehabilitating Minnesota Wild defenceman Kurtis Foster hopes to play in a game within a month.

Foster broke his left leg 10 months ago and has been working his way back since. The Wild's plan is to send him to Houston sometime after the all-star break to play for their top minor league team before being cleared for NHL action. He can spend a maximum of two weeks with the Aeros for his conditioning assignment.

"The idea is just to get him practising at a higher level and hopefully playing," general manager Doug Risebrough said Tuesday. Risebrough said there's no timetable for Foster's return.

Foster said he'll see a specialist at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday for strength testing and evaluation of the muscles that were damaged and weakened when he fractured his femur in three places in a collision last March that required major surgery and the insertion of a stabilizing steel rod in the bone.

He's been practising with the team for several weeks, slowly increasing the amount of contact and working through pain in his quadriceps that comes from the months he was unable to use it.

"I just keep pushing it more and more every day," Foster said before Tuesday's pre-game skate. "When I feel like I'm ready to go, I'll let 'em know. It gets sore as practice goes on, but strength-wise it feels pretty good. It's just trusting and knowing it's not going to break. It might hurt a little bit, but the pain goes away."

Foster went with the Wild to Chicago for Monday's game against the Blackhawks, his first road trip since the injury.

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