After his first practice with the team today in three weeks, Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said he will probably be ready to start Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C.

But the 40-year-old goalie, who has been sidelined by a pinched nerve in his upper back and neck, may dress as Johan Hedberg’s backup for Tuesday's important meeting with the Rangers at Prudential Center.

“I love to be part of these games. They’re always fun. But it’s not the first time I’m missing a Rangers game,” Brodeur said. “Hopefully I’ll feel good enough tomorrow to be watching it from the bench.”

Wouldn’t that be a risk if Hedberg had to come out?

“No. If I’m on the bench it means I’m going to be okay to play,” Brodeur said. “I might not be ready to start a game because my stamina is not there, but adrenalin takes over in those kind of situations. I’d be fine it happens. The coaches will make that decision. They might not want me to do it.”

Brodeur initially hurt his back in a practice and it got to the point where he participated in the Feb. 24 pregame warmup for a home game against the Winnipeg Jets and decided he was unable to start.

“I hurt it way before, maybe a week or two before,” he said. “The weekend in Washington and the game against Winnipeg it went from (bad to worse). I just couldn’t handle it anymore,” he said. “I didn’t really do anything in the warmup. (The symptoms were) just waiting to pop out everywhere.