Jagr cleared to practice five months after surgery

Updated: September 26, 2006, 12:09 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr has been cleared to practice for the first time since undergoing surgery on his dislocated left shoulder nearly five months ago.

Jaromir Jagr

"We got a very good report from the doctor," said smiling New York coach Tom Renney after the Rangers lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders in a preseason game Monday night. "He is ready for a full practice and everything that is involved with that."

When pressed on whether that included contact drills, Renney repeated that the star forward can participate in all forms of practice.

When Jagr might be able to play in a game will be determined by Renney and the rest of the coaching staff. Jagr will need to build up his endurance and practice time before taking the next step.

"He is cleared to practice, and then it is up to me," Renney said of Jagr, who set team records last season with 54 goals and 123 points. "He's got to practice."

At the start of training camp, Renney indicated it was doubtful that Jagr would play in any exhibition games before the Oct. 5 season opener against Washington. But Monday, Renney said he hopes to get last season's MVP runner-up into the lineup before then.

"I'd like to," he said. "We'll train here the next few days and we'll see where that takes us."

New York is scheduled to face Boston at home Wednesday, play at the Islanders on Friday, and visit Boston on Saturday to close out its preseason.

Jagr has been on the shelf since being injured in New York's playoff-opening loss to New Jersey last season. He missed one game and then returned for Game 3, but was largely ineffective after finishing second in the NHL in goals and points.

Less than one minute into the final game of New Jersey's sweep, Jagr was felled by a check from Devils defenseman Brad Lukowich and was knocked out for good.

The 34-year-old right winger had surgery nine days later on May 8. He was expected to be ready to go at the start of training camp on Sept. 15, but the Rangers took a cautious approach and kept him out of team scrimmages and games.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press