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Panthers' Jovanovski expected back Saturday

by Staff /

The Florida Panthers expect to have captain Ed Jovanovski in the lineup for the first time this season when they host the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The veteran defenseman has been out all season recovering from hip surgery.

"I am very excited to get back on the ice with my teammates on Saturday night," Jovanovski told the team's website. "I cannot thank our doctors and training staff enough for the countless hours they spent helping me rehab from my injury."

Jovanovski had surgery April 5. He played six games last season, none after March 16. He first was injured Jan. 29 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed 22 games. He returned for the one game in March against the New York Islanders, but his return lasted less than two periods.

"We are thrilled to have our captain back in the lineup," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told the team's website. "Ed worked extremely hard during his extensive rehabilitation process and should be commended for his diligent efforts both on and off the ice. He is a true professional in every sense, who adds leadership, character and a veteran presence to our locker room."

The 37-year-old has 495 points in 1,091 NHL games with the Panthers, Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes.

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