With the NHL season about to resume after a two-week recess for the Olympic break and the trade deadline looming, the Islanders were saddled with some worrisome injury news about goaltender Rick DiPietro. DiPietro is out indefinitely with knee swelling, the team announced at practice Monday.
DiPietro, who has battled several injuries over the past four years, did not practice with the team yesterday. Instead, DiPietro went to visit a doctor to get his leg checked out after feeling stiffness and swelling in his left knee after practice Sunday.
DiPietro, who was upbeat when speaking with reporters, said all tests showed his left knee is structurally sound.
“I think at this point it’s precautionary,” DiPietro said. “After seven or eight days off, to kick it back into full gear might have irritated it a little bit. There’s nothing major to report, just the stuff that goes along with territory coming back from serious injury.”
After playing in only five games last season, DiPietro began rehabbing his surgically-repaired left knee back in August. He returned from injury on January 8 against Dallas and has appeared in seven games since, posting a 2-5-0 record with .900 save percentage and a 2.60 goals against average.
“You don’t want to turn something minor into something major,” DiPietro said. “That’s something we’ve learned along the way. With something like this, it’s a temperamental thing. Sometimes it acts up, sometimes it doesn’t. We’ve been lucky for the most part that things have been perfect.”
DiPietro, who missed the last two games before the break with the flu, has not played since February 6, a 3-1 loss to Carolina. However, The 28 year-old goaltender did participate in each day of Islanders practice this week and also jogged lightly past reporters on his way to work out at the Islanders practice facility in Syosset Monday.
“It’s something I probably could’ve gone out there with and dealt with. I got to give [team athletic trainer] Garrett Timms and the rest of the medical staff tons of credit for reining me in a little bit and making sure I don’t do anything stupid,” DiPietro said.
“It’s one of those weird things where you feel great, but it’s all about how you feel when you get up in the morning and how the injury responds. We just have to make sure we continue to monitor it and make sure we are on the right track and don’t do anything to set us back.”
DiPietro is out for Tuesday's game against Chicago; his timetable beyond that remains unclear.
"It's like anything, you fear the worst and hope the best and this is as close to the best as possible,” DiPietro said. “This is a big thing we're battling back from here and we don't want to do anything foolish to ruin all the hard work we've put into it."