Kings activate Greene (back) from IR

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The defending Stanley Cup champs are getting a key piece of their defense back in time for the playoffs.

That was the story out of Los Angeles on Thursday as Kings GM Dean Lombardi announced Matt Greene had been activated from injured reserve.

Greene, 29, hasn’t played in the last 42 games after suffering a back injury during a season-opening loss to Chicago.

The Kings have missed the 6-foot-3, 232 pound rearguard’s presence, especially after he scored a career-high four goals and 15 points in 2011-12.

Greene followed that up by chipping in 2G-4A-6PTS in 20 playoff games en route to the first championship in franchise history.

It’s possible Greene could draw back into the lineup tonight when the Kings host Columbus at Staples, though head coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t sure what to expect from him after so much time off.

“Quite honest, if he’s not ready to play three or four games, and if we made the playoffs, I’d have trouble putting him in for sure,” Sutter told LA Kings Insider. “He played, what, a few minutes of the year. So it’s not about ‘what you did’. It’s ‘what you’re doing.’

“It’s very simple. I mean, he’s going to have to play three or four games, very simple, otherwise I could not be comfortable with it.”

Greene underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back in late January.