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McDonagh skates for first time since being elbowed in head

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Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov hits Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Thursday.Nathan Denette/AP

Maple Leafs center Leo Komarov hits Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Thursday.

Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh skated Monday for the first time since being elbowed in the head Thursday by Toronto’s Leo Komarov. The defenseman, who suffered a jaw contusion and neck spasms from the elbow, skated after the Rangers practiced in Greenburgh.

He won’t play in Tuesday’s game against the Devils in Newark but will take shots Tuesday morning.

“I’ve been progressing and getting better here every day,” McDonagh said. “It’s a good sign obviously.”

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He had just returned to the lineup on Wednesday against the Blackhawks after missing four games with a concussion, suffered because of Wayne Simmonds’ sucker-punch in Philadelphia on Feb. 6. Komarov nailed McDonagh at 18:58 of the first period the night after the Blackhawks game and was suspended three games.

McDonagh was relieved he didn’t suffer another concussion.

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“Obviously I was pretty thankful,” he said. “Could tell right away I was clear. The test was a lot easier, I was able to clear it fine. From that aspect it was good, but it was frustrating. I was pretty upset about the whole timing of everything, and now kind of having to start over again and get ramped up again from the start. But like I said, grateful it wasn’t another concussion. Don’t have to go through the whole testing protocol for that. I’m feeling a lot closer now than I was coming off the last one at this point.”

McDonagh plans on going on the team’s upcoming road trip to St. Louis and Dallas. He hasn’t yet discussed with the training staff whether he’ll need added protection for his jaw. The 26-year-old is trying to keep a soft diet because he feels pain when biting down too hard. The jaw, he says, is more bothersome than his neck.

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