The Washington Times - December 19, 2011, 02:35PM

Jay Beagle isn’t quite ready for game action, but on Monday he was cleared to participate fully in Washington Capitals practice, yet another stepping stone for the concussed forward.

“It felt good. It felt really good,” Beagle told reporters. “That’s basically the first day I can really go hard. It’s going to take probably a week or a bit to really get in shape and to get game-ready.”

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Technically the Caps have just 12 healthy forwards right now after sending Cody Eakin down to the Hershey Bears on Sunday. The NHL’s roster freeze goes into effect at midnight, but in the event of an injury the Caps can still call up reinforcements.

When Beagle is cleared to play, he’ll give Washington at minimum some insurance as the 13th forward and could also provide another option in the lineup.

A team spokesman said Beagle’s status on the injured list has not changed. He’s eligible to come off at any time now. But playing in a game for the first time since Oct. 13 will still take time.

“My heart rate’s been getting up, but it hasn’t been getting to the point I need it to get to,” Beagle said.

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While I was flying back from Denver on Monday morning, Dale Hunter switched the top two lines at Caps practice. Marcus Johansson moved up to the top group with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, while Alexander Semin skated with Jeff Halpern and Troy Brouwer.

Mike Green skated for 30 minutes by himself Monday morning. There is no real timetable for him to return from a groin injury.