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Parise cleared to begin skating

Lamoriello announces Devils' left wing to skate lightly for next 2-3 weeks

Wednesday, 03.2.2011 / 6:40 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Parise cleared to begin skating
Zach Parise has been cleared to skate on his own.
Zach Parise has been cleared to begin skating and will soon hit the ice for the first time in four months.

President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced that Parise's medical examination went well on Wednesday, and that the Devils left wing will skate on his own for a minimum of the next two to three weeks.

Parise has missed 50 games. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus and has been sidelined since Oct. 30.

"Zach met with the physician today and I spoke to the physician and Zach this afternoon," Lamoriello said. "He’s fine. He can begin skating lightly immediately. He certainly isn’t where he has to be with the strength of his leg and that should be another three weeks to get where he should be. He’ll be skating on his own for a period of time; that period of time is going to be a minimum, two to three weeks."

Can he rejoin the team this season?

"I would think so, but to what extent I couldn’t answer. When you get to this point of any injury – and that’s why I want to emphasize this – the last 10 percent and 15 percent is the most difficult, getting up to a certain point. You get there and then it’s getting everything where it should be. You haven’t been active for quite a while. When you shut your leg down and your knee down for this amount of time, and you’re doing other exercises, you’re working on different parts of your body, you have to be very, very careful when you come back because other things have an effect."

If your playoff chances are not mathematically alive at that point, would he come back or is it, if he's ready, he plays?

"If he’s ready, that would be any player, you are not going to be released from physicians because there’s playoffs or not playoffs. You’re going to be released because you’re OK to play and you’re healthy. It’s as simple as that. And this is a day-to-day thing, it just happens that the timing is where it is right now: when he was to see the doctor, and when he was to get the diagnosis of where he’s at, and that’s where he’s at. He’ll still be going to physical therapy that he’s going through, but it’s the first time he’s being allowed to go on the ice. And there are things that he cannot do on the ice. He just can skate, he can’t do anything else. It’s just getting all the muscles going. When I say two to three weeks, that’s minimum. It could be three weeks, it could be four weeks, it could be five weeks. I can’t answer that so I don’t want anyone to misread or misunderstand what I’m really saying. It’s all positive; there’s no setbacks. Everything has been successful from the physician’s point of view, and that’s all that we could have hoped for today."

How did Zach take the news?

"He was pretty excited. Just to get on skates he’s going to be excited. Holding him back will be another thing."

Is there a timetable for him to see the doctor again and be cleared to practice?

"There’s no timetable because what happens in something like this is that you can measure strength in the physical therapy and also size, so he’ll have to get to a certain point. When you get to that point, when the injury that you had, the type of surgery that he had is successful, now it has to do the other parts of your leg that have to be strengthen when they’re inactive."

Is it important to see him even if it’s for two games, just to get back this year before camp begins?

"I’m not thinking about anything other than playing a hockey game tonight. When there’s time involved in anything, things change so quickly. It’s just that, the examination today was extremely positive and you go from there. You have to be very careful and [that’s why] we’re so sensitive sometimes in reporting injuries because what an injury is today could be a different one tomorrow because of just the way it is.

"Even time frame. You think you’re out, now you think you’re in and all of a sudden something reacts. It’s a different world today, it really is, when it comes to injuries. It’s throughout all sports. Everybody has different ways of doing things. Just be honest about it and sometimes the only way you can honest is to say nothing until you’re really sure. And that’s the case here. We really couldn’t give any information because we had no more than we have.

"Right now, the examination said he’s where he should be today, when the step is that he can go out and get some exercise and get all those muscles that are used in skating to start getting the circulation going, but he can’t do anything in areas of stops and starts and things like that until he gets the strength where he has to get it. How long will that take, I couldn’t sit here [and say] two to three weeks minimum just so I don’t have to answer questions for three weeks because it could be more. It’s not going to be less, that I can assure you. It can’t be less just simply because of how long it takes to get certain measurements in your legs where they should be."