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Devils' Jack Hughes set to return after being activated from injured reserve

Devils star center Jack Hughes is officially set to make his return to the starting lineup Thursday night against the Calgary Flames after being activated from injured reserve. 

Hughes has missed the past 11 games after suffering an upper-body injury on an awkward collision into the boards during a Jan. 5 matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I'm excited to get back out there," he said at the team's morning skate. "We definitely played really well the last game, it was a big win coming out of the break. Hopefully we can ride that and piece together a couple of wins and make a serious push here."

The 22-year-old was expected to co-captain Team Hughes alongside his bother, Quinn, at his third consecutive All-Star Game but he was replaced by teammate Jesper Bratt when it became clear he'd be unable to participate.

Hughes still attended the festivities in Toronto, but after completing the All-Star Player Draft on Thursday night, he returned to New Jersey to continue his recovery.

“It’s a bummer, but it's no ones fault,” he said at the All-Star Draft. “It's just tough timing and how things went down. I’m still fortunate to be here with Quinn and stuff, it’s a really cool and special opportunity and I don’t know when I’ll get this chance again."

The star center made his way onto the ice wearing a non-contact jersey during the team's first practice back from the break, and just three days later he's been deemed ready to return to the Devils' top line.

Hughes is expected to slot in alongside his usual linemates, Alexander Holt and Tyler Toffoli, the latter of which is returning from a one-game absence due to an illness.

New Jersey certainly could use their star center back in the mix, as they look to scratch their way out of a sixth-place tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.

Despite being limited to just 32 games this season, Hughes remains second on the team with 15 goals, 30 assists, and 45 points.