Gagne aching to return

DAVID W. UNKLE -- For SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 6:15 AM ET

VOORHEES--Philadelphia Flyers winger Simon Gagne was at the team's practice facility on Sunday, speaking out about his injury and discounting media reports that have him shelved for up to two weeks.

"I would love to come back as early as possible," said Gagne, a day after a MRI confirmed that the there was no structural damage to his right knee.

The 25-year-old Ste. Foy native also had fluid drained from his knee and was walking independently with only a slight limp.

"I talked to the doctor (Saturday) and it's (more) positive that I originally thought," said Gagne.

"He's day-to-day and he feels 100% better today," said head coach Ken Hitchcock, who hopes to have his leading goal scorer back in the lineup for either Wednesday's game against the New Jersey Devils or on Thursday against the New York Rangers.

"(Gagne) has a bone bruise on his (right) knee, the swelling is down and if things keep progressing, it's not inconceivable that he could be back playing this week."

The Flyers top the NHL with 281 man-games lost due to injury and while Hitchcock is against rushing a player back to action prematurely, he felt that based on Gagne's session with team physicians that Gagne "will not be close (to missing) two weeks."

"That's why we brought him back (from Torino) early so that he would be ready to play on Wednesday.

Gagne suffered the knee injury following a questionable hit by Russia's Darius Kasparaitis to his right knee in the first period of Canada's Olympic hockey quarterfinal loss.

Gagne returned for a few shifts in the second period before deciding not to risk further injury.

Commenting on the hip check, Gagne stated that, "as a player, if you go and try to hit a player low in his knee or leg it's something that I think should be illegal."

Gagne and Kasparaitis will get the chance to reacquaint this week when the Rangers invade the Wachovia Center.

"There's nothing I can do right now but get healthy as soon as possible," said Gagne.


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