Daniel Carcillo isn't even attempting to figure out what cosmic force was at work when he suffered an injury in his first game back from major knee surgery.

The Blackhawks winger returned to practice Thursday for the first time since suffering a right knee sprain in the season opener Jan. 19 against the Kings. The injury occurred in the third period of his return after he spent a year rehabilitating from ACL surgery on his left knee.

"Everything happens for a reason," Carcillo said. "I haven't found out what that reason was yet. I don't care to know. Stuff happens. Just because I was out for a year doesn't make me exempt from getting hurt again. I just had to try to get back as quick as I can.

"Last year's injury tested me both on and off the ice. If I can get over something like (that), a little bump in the road like this isn't going to affect me."

After skating on his own while the Hawks were on their six-game trip, Carcillo took a major stride toward returning when he practiced with teammates at the United Center.

"Everything's going well," Carcillo, 28, said. "Rehab went well and I feel strong on the ice. It's just a matter of time when they'll make the decision and I'll get the call to go in."

Where Carcillo will fit in remains to be seen. The veteran started the season on the top line with Marian Hossa and center Jonathan Toews, but rookie Brandon Saad has been one of the Hawks' most dynamic players while filling in and it's not likely coach Joel Quenneville will make a change there.

"Wherever I get in the lineup I'll be happy and grateful and do my job," Carcillo said.

Quenneville will decide his place and said Thursday the team will carry 23 players on its roster.