ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild started the unofficial second half of the NHL season by summoning three forwards from their minor league affiliate, one sign that their absent veterans aren’t yet ready for action.

But two of them were on the ice Monday, raising the possibility they could return in a week or so.

The Wild recalled Matt Kassian, Jed Ortmeyer and Chad Rau from the Houston Aeros of the AHL, but left wing Guillaume Latendresse, who has played in only two games since Nov. 10 because of a concussion, participated in practice. Center Mikko Koivu, out for the last four games with a left shoulder injury, skated on his own before the workout.

Coach Mike Yeo said he believes Koivu is “much closer” to coming back than Latendresse and could accompany the team on the three-game road swing that starts Thursday at Colorado. Minnesota hosts Nashville on Tuesday.

Latendresse spoke with a big smile and a few deep breaths after his first practice in more than a month. He said he has been symptom-free — “no headaches,” he said — for the last 10 or 12 days.

“I feel good, I eat good, I sleep good,” he said. “So whatever. Whenever I get free and clear for contact, after that, why not? Even if I wait, if my head is fragile and is not ready I’m going to get hurt again, so why wait?”

The other top-six forward still on injured reserve, right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard, remains out with a concussion. Yeo said there’s no update on his condition.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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