Numminen to return after missing one game

Updated: April 29, 2006, 4:07 PM ET
Associated Press

AMHERST, N.Y. -- Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen will return to the lineup Sunday against Philadelphia after missing one game and part of another because of a racing heart and pulse.

Teppo Numminen

He returned to Buffalo on Friday for tests and received medication. The 37-year-old player has a history of heart difficulties.

"I feel good and normal," he said after practicing Saturday. "The doctors said everything looks normal and like it should. So I feel good about it and will be playing tomorrow. I'm not worried about it. I know the situation and feel comfortable with the doctors. So I have no concern."

He missed Friday's Game 4 after leaving Game 3 early in the second period because of the heart and pulse problems. The series is even at 2-2.

Numminen was diagnosed with a dilated aorta in 2003-04 while playing for the Dallas Stars and had heart surgery following that season. He will have surgery again after this season.

"It's always scary when you deal with your heart," he said. "It's a different injury than you normally would have as an athlete. So you want to be sure about it and know everything there is to know."

Forward Jochen Hecht didn't practice Saturday, and coach Lindy Ruff said his availability will be a game-time decision. Hecht left Friday's game in the second period with what Ruff said was an upper body injury. It appeared that Hecht was hurt when he exchanged checks with Philadelphia center Peter Forsberg.

Hecht missed 16 of Buffalo's last 17 games during the regular season because of two knee injuries.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press