One question of which Tim Gleason has heard enough: “How are you feeling?”

And pending a final test he might not have to answer it again for quite awhile.

Gleason who has been sidelined with a concussion for the Hurricanes’ first nine games of the regular season could return as early as Thursday if he responds well to contact practices this week.

“I’m pretty much tested out at this point but one more to go” he said with a smile after his first physical practice with the team since the preseason. “It’s good to get in the flow of things. Obviously it’s a bit different than just skating on your own.”

The 6-foot 217-pound Gleason dropped the gloves with Montreal’s Jarred Tinordi who measures in at six feet and six inches and 227 pounds in the first period of a preseason game on Sept. 21. After serving his five-minute penalty Gleason played the rest of the period but did not return to the ice after the first intermission.

As soon as he got to the penalty box he couldn’t hear out of his right ear. That was the first red flag.

“I found out later on that I blew my ear drum” Gleason said adding that he ruptured his left ear drum when he had a head cold on a plane about five years ago. “So if I don’t hear anybody it’s not my fault.”

In the days following the fight Gleason took some time off away from the rink. That’s when the dizziness and general uneasiness set in leading to a couple of frustrating wait-and-see sort of weeks.

“I was more or less off balance for a few days. And then I had a couple good days and all of a sudden I started getting dizzy for three-quarters of the day and that just stopped about a week ago” he said. “You just hope for the best and you wake up everyday hoping you’re not dizzy.”