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Redmond recovering, is cleared for practice

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DR. CHRISTOPHER LONGO, Raleigh-based vascular surgeon, has done good work indeed.

His patient, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Redmond, was cleared for practice on Thursday and was on the ice with several teammates Friday for an optional skate at the MTS Centre.

"He did a really good job," Redmond beamed Friday. "He was happy with his work."

He's not the only one. Redmond returned to the Jets a week ago for a light skate, all of this amazingly less than two months after the frightening Feb. 21 incident in North Carolina when Redmond's right leg was stepped on by teammate Antti Miettinen's skate at a morning practice, slicing his femoral artery plus nerves and tendons.

After Longo's three hours of surgery that day, the healing has been swift. Thursday, Redmond passed enough tests with the team's medical staff to get his clearance. It was near 90 per cent strength, coach Claude Noel revealed.

"I had to do four different tests for my quad, hamstring, hips and groins and did those yesterday and they all checked out," Redmond said. "Some were a little bit under but altogether it was enough where they could clear me. It felt good, good to be back out there with the team."

Sunday will be Redmond's first full practice since the incident. He says he's ready for that, and maybe more.

"No restrictions at all," Redmond said. "I probably have to go through a week of practice before I'm cleared for game stuff. We'll see. The coaches, a lot of it is in their hands, whether they think I'm fit to play or whatever. But it's a good first step."

Noel wasn't committing to anything but he was thrilled to see the rookie defenceman back in action mode.

-- -- --

Not impressed -- that's about the only way to describe Jets' centre Bryan Little in the wake of being bloodied by the illegal head check by Florida's Erik Gudbranson late in Thursday's second period.

Little has scars for the collision. Gudbranson received a match penalty in the game but no further discipline from the NHL for the head shot.

"Got hit in the face," Little said Friday. "I didn't see the replay. I just remember getting hit in the face, almost square on, so I don't know."

The bridge of Little's nose didn't look all that comfortable but he said he didn't think it was broken.

"I don't think so," he said. "I'm going to to go in and get X-rayed today to make sure."

He did finish the game, despite leaking a substantial amount of blood from his nose. The blow might have been a little easier to bear given his impact on the game with two key assists.

"It made it easier that we're winning, that the team had a good game," Little said. " It definitely didn't feel good for the rest of the game after that. It happens, I guess."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2013 C2

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