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March 5, 2004 - Injury disrupts big season for Draper
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Injury disrupts big season for Draper

March 5, 2004

BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

There's no good way to suffer a partially torn left rotator cuff. But this had to be among the worst possible for Red Wings center Kris Draper.

"It kind of makes it a little bit tougher to accept, the way it happens in a pregame skate, just getting ready to get off the ice," Draper said Thursday. "You just kind of replay what happened. . . . It's disappointing."

Draper was coming down on a shot Wednesday morning when his stick clipped the mask of goaltender Curtis Joseph, disrupting his breakout season. He has 24 goals, and he never had more than 15 before.

"It's been a lot of fun," Draper said. "You kind of think, 'I've got the last month here. Could I score six more goals to become a 30-goal scorer?' . . . That would have been obviously very special for me to do personally. . . .

"It's just kind of very frustrating that everything had to come to an end like that. But the bottom line for me now, I'm looking to maybe try to get a couple games in at the end of the season and obviously be ready for the playoffs. That's what this team's all about, anyway. . . .

"Those are the positives I'm bringing. I've got obviously some time here to rest and get fired up and recharge all the batteries and be a bat out of hell when I start coming back."

Draper was already riding a stationary bike Wednesday night and Thursday.