Forsberg hopes to be ready for Opening Night

Updated: September 5, 2006, 4:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Flyers on Tuesday received more encouraging news regarding Peter Forsberg.

The star center returned to the Philadelphia area over the weekend and skated for the first time since having surgery on his right ankle in mid-May. Forsberg said after the session that he was unsure whether or not he'd be ready for the start of training camp on Sept. 15.

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"It's hard to tell exactly how it feels the first time skating, but it's definitely fun to be out there much earlier than I thought and expected to be back. It feels great to be back on the ice," Forsberg told local reporters Tuesday. "[Training camp is] 10 more days, and even if I'm not ready at the beginning of training camp, hopefully I'll feel [well] enough to play at the beginning of the year."

The Flyers open the season on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 5.

"I'm certainly hoping [to start in the opener]. It's only a month to go, and I've just got to keep on working and if everything goes like it should, I could be ready," Forsberg said. "That's what I'm aiming for and hoping for."

Forsberg found out in July that he didn't need additional surgery on his left ankle, pushing his return more than four months earlier than he was originally expected to return. In mid-May, Forsberg had torn ligaments repaired and several bones realigned in his right ankle during a three-hour operation. He was scheduled to have the same procedure on his left ankle when the right one healed, and was expected to be sidelined until about January.

Forsberg started rehabilitation on his right ankle in mid-July, about seven weeks after the operation.

"It would be hard to miss half the year, and I'm just really happy to be back on the ice skating and hopefully playing at the level I want to be playing at when I start," Forsberg said. "It was a great feeling to be out there."

Forsberg has had ankle problems for about seven years. The Flyers have said that the surgery should make him less prone to groin and abdominal strains. Most of the 22 games he missed last season were from groin-related injuries.

He had 19 goals and 75 points in his first season with the Flyers after leaving Colorado for a two-year, $11.5 million contract last summer.

Often considered one of the world's premier hockey players, Forsberg's impact in the lineup was obvious. Philadelphia was 35-16-9 with him in the lineup and 10-10-2 without him.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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