Florida Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski will return to the ice on Saturday when the Panthers take on the Nashville Predators, according to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old defenseman is returning from major hip surgery and he has not played in an NHL game since last March.
Jovanovski underwent a hip resurfacing procedure which is a newer, less invasive surgery than having a full hip replacement. Fialkov reports that no athlete from any of the four major sports has successfully returned after having the procedure. As if that is not enough optimism, Dr. Audie Rolnick, a hip-replacement surgeon was quoted in the Sentinel’s story as saying:
“I would never let anyone go back to playing a sport like this.”
Ed Jovanovski was drafted by the Panthers with the number one overall pick in the 1994 Entry Draft. He played in four seasons during his first go-around with the Panthers, a stint that included a trip to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. Since then he has been a fixture on blue lines throughout the league. In 1999 he was traded by the Panthers to the Canucks in a seven player deal that netted Florida the services of Pavel Bure. Jovo played in seven season with Vancouver before signing with Phoenix prior to the 06-07 season. After five seasons with the Coyotes he returned to the Panthers as a free-agent during the offseason leading up to the 11-12 season. He is currently in the third year of a four-year deal with the Panthers worth $16,500,000.
Jovanoski’s second stint with the Panthers started off well as he played 66 games during the 11-12 season helping the Panthers to their first Southeast Division title in team history. Since then however, injuries have gotten the best of the 17-year vet. He only played in six games last season missing time with a knee injury and then the hip injury which has kept him off the ice until now.
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