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October 9, 2001 - Dopita advised to come back slowly

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Dopita advised to come back slowly
 
By Tim Panaccio INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Keith Primeau knows all too well what Jiri Dopita, who suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee in the season's first game, is going through.

And Primeau says that if the Czech center wants his left knee to heal properly and without pain, he should take his time coming back to play.

Primeau suffered a similar - though slightly more severe - injury last spring that caused him to miss the final six games of the regular season and two playoff games. He returned before the knee was completely healed because the Flyers were in a series against the Buffalo Sabres.

"My situation was different because there was greater urgency," Primeau said. "[His] happened so early in the season, I would want to make sure everyone is patient with it. There is no urgency at this point. For him to try and get back in four, five, six weeks - I honestly believe if he gives it the right healing time, it will be closer to Christmas. That is how I would handle it as a player."

Primeau said that he came back at less than 100 percent in the playoffs and that his knee did not completely heal until after the season.

"Our injuries are very similar," Primeau said. "I talked to [trainer] John [Worley]. I had a Grade II-plus, which is different from his, but real similar. I know what he is going through and how he feels."

Primeau said that Dopita likely has significant discomfort.

"When the leg opens up," he said, "you really feel it. "You need to make sure you are not re-aggravating it before coming back. ... I'd rather see him let it heal properly and then try to [come back]."

The Flyers said a CT scan yesterday showed nothing new, and Dopita will likely miss six weeks. He was at the Flyers Skate Zone last night being tutored in English.

Loose pucks. The Flyers are scheduled to practice today in Columbus before traveling to Buffalo in late afternoon. They will face the Sabres tomorrow. After the game, the team will return home for practices Thursday and Friday, then depart Friday afternoon for Florida.

During this stretch of five road games, the Flyers will stay an extra day in Columbus, two extra days in Fort Lauderdale, and one extra day in Atlanta for practice sessions. The road trip ends after the Flyers meet the Red Wings on Oct. 18 in Detroit.