Could Matt Read, who has a rib cage injury, return to the Flyers lineup tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins -- four weeks ahead of schedule?

It certainly appears that way.

Read left the morning skate today with the other regulars who will play tonight while Mike Knuble took extra practice.

That would imply Read is playing just two weeks after the Flyers estimated he would need six weeks to recover from the injury suffered against the Penguins on Feb. 20 in Pittsburgh, when he was hit by Evgeni Malkin and then Chris Kunitz in the first period.

Can he play?

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Read said, adding that the decision would be up to general manager Paul Holmgren and coach Peter Laviolette.

Read admitted he still has significant pain in his ribs when shooting slap shots or even a wrist shot.

So why come back? How can a player who has pain shooting the puck help his team?

“I don’t know if I am coming back yet,” Read replied. “Just practicing with team today at the morning skate and go from there.