Kariya, signed to a bargain-basement free-agent contract over the summer, has been sidelined since suffering a sprained wrist in a loss to Boston on Oct. 21.
The seven-time All-Star, who did not score in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss at Phoenix, has three goals and two assists in six games.
"(Thursday) was a good sign," said Coach Tony Granato. "It was the most he's done in three weeks. He's worked hard to stay in shape and be ready, and the good news it's getting better every day."
The Avalanche have placed left wing Brad Larsen on injured reserve, retroactive to Sunday, to make room for Kariya.
Larsen, who has gone pointless in five games, has a groin injury that caused him to miss five contests earlier this season.