Reminder: Noah Wyle's back in the 'ER' Thursday

Noahwyle-er_240 Mark Greene, David Morgenstern and Elizabeth Corday have already made a last trip through the ER this season, and now it's John Carter's turn.

Thursday (Feb. 19) marks the return of Noah Wyle to the show, where he'll guest-star on several episodes to help close out the series' 15-year run. NBC isn't being very forthcoming about how or why Carter, whom Wyle played for the show's first 11 seasons, returns to County General -- the network's episode description only says that "Dr. Carter makes a surprise return to the ER." Which isn't telling you anything you don't already know.

When we last saw Carter on the show, in 2006, he was working with a relief organization in the Darfur region of Sudan. (The story line was part of a guest arc Wyle did after leaving the show as a regular the previous season.) Descriptions of the next few weeks' episodes hint that he'll try to go back to work at County General.

The show's farewell tour has already featured guest spots from Anthony Edwards (Greene), who made an appearance in flashbacks in a November episode; Alex Kingston (Corday), who popped up in January; and William H. Macy (Morgenstern), who guested on the two most recent episodes -- the second of which was directed by former regular Eriq La Salle.

Before the series is over, fans can also expect to see George Clooney (Doug Ross) and Julianna Margulies (Carol Hathaway) one last time. Long-time orderly Jerry (Abraham Benrubi) has also popped up a few times this season.

I missed Kingston's appearance, but I thought the show handled Edwards' and Macy's returns pretty well. And given that Wyle's final turn on ER has been planned all along, there's no reason to expect anything different.

Are you looking forward to Wyle's return? How about Clooney and Margulies?