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  • Friday, December 3, 1999

    Messier returns to ice, but he's weeks away from playing

    By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

     Former Oilers captain Mark Messier was back on the ice yesterday morning, testing the injured knee that has kept him out of the lineup since Nov. 9.

     The conservative estimate for his return was four weeks, but it could be as much as six weeks to allow the ligament to heal.

     "You can do all the exercises you want in the weight room but until you get on the ice and skate you don't really know exactly how it feels," said Messier.

     "Even though I can't do some things on the ice, I certainly can start exercising some the muscles that are used to skate and don't get a chance to do that in the weight room.

     '`After three weeks I'm obviously not ready to step in and play right now but I'm certainly encouraged by the way it felt skating and just slowly starting to do more and more and hopefully be ready.

     "I don't think I need to put a date or a time on it. When the knee's ready I'll know it. I've felt it before and I'll know when it's tight enough to play."

     It's hard to sit by and watch for someone like the Moose, but with Vancouver sitting well in the Western Conference, the wait has been at least tolerable.

     "I am very proud of the way we've played. Everyone has contributed in so many ways."

     Meanwhile, Mike Grier, who suffered a chip fracture in his right clavicle in the Nov. 24 game against Chicago, made the trip and is now listed as day-to-day.

     Coach Kevin Lowe said Grier probably won't play tomorrow in the return match against the Canucks, but should be ready for the upcoming road trip. VANCOUVER CANUCKS



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