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Luongo cleared to return for Panthers after hip injury: report

38-year-old goalie knows he 'can't play as many games as I would like,' expects decreased workload

NHL.com @NHL

Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo said he feels healthy and has been cleared medically after rehabilitating a hip injury that was related to hip labrum surgery in May 2016, the Miami Herald reported Monday.

"I was rehabbing until late May and I was released to have my regular summer routine," Luongo, 38, said after an on-ice workout Friday that included Panthers goaltending coach Robb Tallas. "It's good to be able to get back to my regular summer training program. This is my second week ... everything feels great and I haven't had any issues. That's good.

"It's comforting mentally to know I can go through a rigorous workout and go all out and not have any issues nor think about it. That's a big first step for me after going through the ups and downs of having to deal with my issue last year. It's nice to have that piece of mind."

Luongo didn't play after leaving a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 2 after one period. In 40 games last season, he went 17-15-6 with a 2.68 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Video: CAR@FLA: Luongo gobbles up Teravainen's wrist shot

The Panthers could ease the load on Luongo by giving more starts to James Reimer, 29, who went 18-16-5 with a 2.53 GAA and .920 save percentage in 39 games.

Luongo, who's started at least 54 games in 13 of the past 14 full NHL seasons and is the active leader in wins (453), shutouts (73) and games played (966), said he isn't concerned with how the games are divided.

"We're both capable goalies and we're a team," he said. "I want to help the team win games and so does [Reimer]. Whatever the breakdown is, it will be. I know I'm 38 and can't play as many games as I would like to anymore. I don't have any goals on how many games I play. I just want to be the best I can every single day and let the chips fall. If I'm healthy, working hard and playing at a high level, things will take care of themselves."

Luongo said he plans a more proactive approach to his off-ice training this season.

"I'm going to come in earlier than everyone else every day," Luongo said. "I have to stay on top of this, manage it. It's going to be important for me to stay on top of it, and sometimes last year I was feeling and good and wasn't on top of things as much as I should have been. That was a mistake on my part. After what I went through last year, I know I have to stay strong do the exercises to make sure the muscles around [the hip] are strong. Last year those muscles started to weaken and everything started to tighten up. I want to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Tweet from @GeorgeRichards: Roberto Luongo doesn't know how much he will play this coming season: https://t.co/LhXqzQ38hA

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