Panthers forward Richard Zednik, gestures towards the scar on his neck during a news conference in Sunrise, Fla., Thursday Feb. 21, 2008. Zednik was cut in the neck during a game Feb. 10 at Buffalo, when teammate Olli Jokinen was upended and his skate swung up. Zednik's carotid artery was sliced but not completely severed, and the blade stopped short of his jugular vei
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com
Richard Zednik admits it hasn’t been easy watching from the stands as his Panther teammates fight to make the playoffs. But the injured right winger said before Thursday evening’s game against Carolina that he feels great – even skated Wednesday morning - and is scheduled to begin working out lightly come next week.
“I went to see the doctor Monday and Tuesday and everything went fine,” said Zednik, who suffered a laceration to his neck Feb. 10 in Buffalo. “A couple more weeks, next week, I can start working out.”
After the team photo session Wednesday at BankAtlantic Center, Zednik put on his skates, picked up a stick, and skated slowly while chatting with a few teammates.
“It was great to be on the ice,” said Zednik, a smile on his face. “I was excited. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay. I shot some pucks, tried my new sticks out. It felt like it was time to go back out. But, like I said, I have to take my time.”
Beginning next week, Zednik said doctors will let him ride a bike and get on the treadmill. Zednik said he has suffered no nerve damage. When asked when he might be allowed to skate, he replied; “I’ll see how I feel. The doctors will keep checking me out, but I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Zednik, who lost five units of blood when he was cut, has attended all of the Panthers home game. While he admitted it’s been tough to watch from the stands, Zednik said he’s excited for his teammates.
“It’s tough to watch,” he said. “I don’t like it. I want to be there for the playoffs. But it’s awesome, winning seven in a row. I think Washington and Carolina will be the key (games).”