Putting on weight can be good thing
March 15, 2004
BY GEORGE SIPPLE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
Kris Draper made some passes during the optional morning skate Sunday at Joe Louis Arena, and he was grinning the whole time.
Draper, at 32, was enjoying a breakout season before suffering a partially torn left rotator cuff during a Red Wings practice March 3. He had 24 goals and 40 points, both career highs.
"From where it was . . . then and now, it's starting to feel pretty good," said Draper, who was given permission by trainer Piet Van Zant to feed passes to his teammates. "That felt good to be able to do those kind of things. Little things right now are exciting to me, which is scary."
Draper, originally expected to miss a month, said there was "no timetable" for his return.
"Realistically, I'd like to get back for the end of the season, as long as the strength is there and the range of motion is there," he said. "Basically, I've mentally prepared myself to be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs, if that's how long it has to take. I'm not ruling anything out. Every day it gets better."
Draper might accompany the Wings on the five-game trip that begins Thursday at Phoenix. The Stanley Cup playoffs start April 7.
"Every chance I can get to skate, and if I can participate a little bit more in practice, I'll do that," Draper said. "It would be nice to go. For conditioning I threw a 10-pound weight vest on. I gotta make sure my conditioning level is right there."