Rangers D Staal cleared for contact

New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has finally been cleared for contact.

The 24-year-old blueliner is still on the road to recovering from a concussion he suffered in February after a hit by his brother -- Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal -- but was able to participate in battle drills during a practice ahead of a matchup with the New York Islanders on Monday night.

Staal has yet to play this year, but posted seven goals and 29 points in 77 games last season, his fourth in the NHL.