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Injured Beagle closer to return

Thursday - 11/3/2011, 2:09pm  ET

Ben Raby, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Capitals forward Jay Beagle plans to skate Friday for the first time since suffering a concussion in an Oct. 13 fight against Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham.

“When you go down like that, it’s kind of scary,” Beagle said Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time since the injury.

“You don’t want to come back too early and get hit and turn something into a two-month, maybe a [season-long] thing. You don’t know with head injuries.”

Beagle would not go so far as to call his injury a concussion, but the Capitals have been particularly cautious in treating his head injury.

The 26-year-old admits that he was looking forward to practicing with the team the day after the Pittsburgh game before being told that he would have to sit.

“I’ve been feeling great and they’ve just been really holding me back and making sure that this doesn’t turn into something worse… Even the day after, I came to practice and I was like, 'OK let’s practice.’ I was in the meetings, I watched video and then they pulled me aside and said, 'Hey we have to make sure that this doesn’t turn into something a lot worse.’”

The NHL has taken steps regarding concussion protocol and when a player can return from a head injury. Even in Beagle’s case, there is still one more test he must pass Friday before he can skate.

“I’ve never had a concussion that I know of,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They didn’t identify them when I played, but if you feel good you want to get out there. You need somebody, for your own protection, to tell you, 'No, you’re not ready to go yet.’”

In the meantime, Beagle says that he has been lifting weights, riding the bike and working out in the gym. He says he has no lingering symptoms and is hopeful of a return to the lineup by next weekend.

“I think once I get on the ice, I’ll be ready to go hopefully in a week. I like to work hard so once I get out there and as soon as I get back in shape, I’ll be ready to go.”

Beagle has played in just two games this season, registering seven penalty minutes and three shots on goal. Despite the aftermath of his first career NHL fight, Beagle does not plan to shy away from any physicality.

“It won’t change my game at all, that stuff happens," he said. "You get hit in the jaw a certain way and you go down. It won’t change my game or anything. If I have to fight I’ll fight and hopefully that never happens again, but it's hockey.”

Catch the Capitals and Hurricanes tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins with Caps Pregame on Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online at www.wfed.com.

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