Clifford (upper body) begins conditioning stint

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While the NHL’s All-Stars play and the remainder of the league rests, Kyle Clifford will be taking another step forward in his road to recovery.

The Los Angeles Kings announced that the 25-year-old forward has been assigned to AHL Ontario for a conditioning stint.

Clifford has been out since Dec. 6 with an upper-body injury due to a high hit from Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman. Once Clifford is ready to return, the Kings will be close to full strength, with the notable exception of Matt Greene (shoulder), who isn’t expected to return this season.

Clifford has never been a major piece of the Kings’ puzzle, but since breaking into the league in 2010, he’s been a consistent presence in the lineup as a bottom-six forward.

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