Bertuzzi can skate for 'balance and body awareness'

Florida Panthers right winger Todd Bertuzzi, who had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back Nov. 2 and was expected to miss six to eight weeks, has been cleared to resume light skating, according to multiple reports out of South Florida on Wednesday.

Acording to a report on the Miami Herald's Web site, Bertuzzi is only cleared to skate for "balance and body awareness" and isn't ready to practice with the team yet.

Bertuzzi experienced back spasms in a game against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 18. He underwent treatment and injections for the injury but ultimately opted for surgery.

Bertuzzi, who was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for goaltender Roberto Luongo the day before the NHL draft in June, also missed some preseason time with a rib injury.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the end of the 2003-04 season and playoffs after his on-ice attack left Colorado's Steve Moore with fractured vertebrae in his neck and a concussion that has so far prevented him from returning to the NHL.