Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild practice: Ballard out two weeks, while other players rest and practice

Posted by: Rachel Blount under Wild practice Updated: November 11, 2013 - 1:06 PM

The Wild have a three-day break between games this week, and Russo also is taking a rare bit of time off. Rachel Blount here, with an update on a workmanlike Wild practice Monday at Xcel.

The biggest news of the day: D Keith Ballard, still bothered by an upper-body injury, will miss about two weeks. Coach Mike Yeo reiterated that the unspecified injury isn't related to the concussion Ballard had earlier this season, but it's significant enough to keep him out of the lineup. Defenseman Clayton Stoner, who injured a leg last week at Washington, didn't skate Monday but is expected to skate on his own Tuesday.

 "(Ballard) is feeling pretty sore right now,'' Yeo said. "We're going to keep him off the ice and let him rest. It's nothing related to the concussion symptoms he was feeling before, but he's in a little too much pain to get on the ice, so we're going to give him a chance to heal up.

"Stoner is day to day. We expect him to go on the ice tomorrow on his own. Depending on how that goes, he may join our group (for Wednesday's game against Toronto at Xcel).''

Yeo said he didn't anticipate calling up anyone. He likes the six healthy defensemen he has, and with the Wild at home for the next week--and the AHL affiliate now close by in Iowa--he noted that he could get someone in on short notice if necessary. But he said he's been very pleased with the play of Nate Prosser and Matt Dumba, and he's enjoyed seeing Marco Scandella's growth this season.

That's it for now--it was a very quiet day. All of the players will do charity appearances this afternoon, with several slated to visit with kids involved in Defending the Blue Line--the group that helps children of military families participate in hockey--and others visiting local hospitals.

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