Parise received the positive news after visiting with Dr. Anthony Miniaci, the surgeon who performed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, at the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello relayed the news to the media at Prudential Center prior to Wednesday night's matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Zach met with the physician today and I spoke to the physician and Zach this afternoon and he's fine," Lamoriello said. "He can begin skating lightly, immediately. He certainly isn't where he has to be with the strength of his leg, which should be another three weeks to get to where it should be. But he'll skate on his time for a minimum 2-3 weeks."
It remains to be seen whether or not Parise, who suffered his injury on Oct. 30 in a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, will even return this season.
"When you get to this point of any injury, and I want to emphasize this, the last 10-15 percent is the most difficult," Lamoriello warned. "You first have to get to a certain point and when you get there, getting everything to where it should be is next because you haven't been active for quite a while. When you shut your leg down … your knee down for this amount of time and you're doing other exercises, you're working different parts of your body and you have to be careful when you come back because other things have an effect."
Parise suffered his injury after getting tangled up with the Kings' Kyle Clifford in the neutral zone and falling awkwardly. He skated right to the bench afterwards, favoring his right leg. His surgery was performed Nov. 1 at a time when the Devils were 3-9-1 and in last place in the Eastern Conference.
In 12 games this season, Parise had 3 goals and 6 points.
"When I spoke to Zach, he was excited," Lamoriello said. "If you know Zach, you know he was just excited to get on and skate again. Holding him back will be another thing."
In addition to returning to the ice on his own, Lamoriello said Parise will continue his physical therapy and be monitored closely.
"You can measure strength through physical therapy and also size," Lamoriello said. "He'll have to get to a certain point and when you get to that point, other parts of your leg have to be strengthening when it's inactive for that long."
Lamoriello reiterated that Parise will certainly not be rushed into anything and his team is basically taking it day to day.
"I'm not even thinking about anything other than playing a hockey game tonight and tomorrow," said Lamoriello. "Whenever time is involved in something, things change so quickly. What we know for sure is that the examination was positive and now we go from there. You have to be careful. What an injury is today can be different tomorrow. It all depends on how your body reacts."