Rehabbing goaltender Rick DiPietro practiced Monday for the first time since experiencing leg tightness and missing the third period of his second rehab start Dec. 11.
DiPietro said he felt great after practicing with goaltending consultant Sudarshan Maharaj and facing shots from Doug Weight, Tim Jackman and Jeff Tambellini for 45 minutes before the rest of the team took the ice for the morning skate.
"I felt great. It was good. [I'm] looking forward to [today] to get in some real practice," he said.
DiPietro said he's relieved that the tightness seems to be resolved. "It was an issue that we were dealing with for a while that needed to be addressed,'' he said. "I saw some specialists, as said. We figured some things out and I think we might've solved the problem."
DiPietro, who has been rehabbing his surgically repaired knee since August, said he doesn't expect the issue to further hamper his plans to return.
"No. That's why I never considered it a setback," he said. "It was something I had been dealing with and we had to find out what we were dealing with. We found out and addressed it and it feels good so far."
DiPietro hopes he won't have to play through any tightness or discomfort in the future. "It's been an issue we've been dealing with for a while,'' he said, "and I feel we finally got to the bottom of it. After having so much work done, you don't know if it's something you have to play through or whether it's fixable. Luckily, so far it seems like something is fixed."
As far as the next step in his rehab, DiPietro, who has yet to play an entire game at the AHL level, said doing that would be "the next logical step."
"I'm sure they'll want me to get through a full game," he said. "I'll practice this week, then get in a game, and get through it healthy, 100 percent."
DiPietro said he's more than willing to report to Bridgeport for another conditioning assignment. "Whatever it takes to get back," he said.
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