Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said Thursday defenceman Jake Gardiner has been fully medically cleared to continue his playing career.

Gardiner, signed through next season at a cap hit of $4.05 million, spent the entire 2021-22 season on long-term injured reserve after undergoing hip and back surgeries in September.

The 31-year-old had eight assists in 26 games with the Hurricanes during the 2020-21 season and appeared in one playoff game with the club. 

He was selected 17th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft by the Anaheim Ducks and has 49 goals and 277 points in 645 career games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.