In electing to stay out of the Blues' lineup one more game, forward Andy McDonald is using the team's schedule to his advantage.

McDonald is close to returning from a concussion that has kept him out 23 games so far, but by sitting out tonight against Colorado, he will have three more days of preparation before the Blues play Edmonton on Friday. Coming off the All-Star break, that's a combined eight days he's had to work out while missing only one game.

"First and foremost, when you come in, you want to be able to contribute," McDonald said. "Personally, I don't feel I'm at a point where I can contribute. Maybe in some areas, but I need to get some practice under my belt and still keep working on my conditioning, and get some strength back, so when I do come in, I can help."

McDonald, who had nine goals and eight assists in 25 games, went through his first full practice with the team since returning to the ice. With forward David Backes missing practice Monday after returning from the All-Star game, McDonald centered Backes' line with Alex Steen and Matt D'Agostini.

"It was a good practice," McDonald said. "I know I was able to skate last week on the road with the team, but those were just more 'morning skates.' Today, I got a little bit more accomplished with some structured stuff. I feel good."

Blues coach Davis Payne called Monday's practice for McDonald progress.

"It's taking each step and making sure that the body responds positively, and it's done that," Payne said. "Today was another full day for him, another good day for him. We consider that progress. We'll see how that lines up for (Tuesday) and on through the week."