Veltman's streak hobbles to an end

Mike Koreen

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Toronto Rock captain Jim Veltman did everything he could to extend his iron-man streak, but then decided rest was best. The defending National Lacrosse League MVP, Veltman missed his first game as a Rock player last night here in Buffalo against the Bandits because of a pulled right hamstring. Veltman went out for a morning shootaround before the season opener yesterday at HSBC Arena, but was off the floor after 10 minutes.

The 13-year veteran, who suffered the injury on Sunday at practice, had played in 124 consecutive regular-season games.

The only two games he missed came because of an injury in 1993 -- his second season in the league with the Buffalo Bandits.

"If it was the last (playoff game), I probably would have given it a try, but it's one of those injuries that's pretty debilitating once you're out there," Veltman, 38, said before the game last night.

"It just keeps grabbing, grabbing and grabbing the back of your leg.

"I gave it an honest try, got all prepped and ready and warmed up. But in the first drill, I just felt something in the back just grabbing again and then I just shut it down. I didn't want to push it too far and then come out for who knows how long."

Fellow defender Dan Ladouceur, who was questionable because of a knee injury, took Veltman's place in the lineup.

Veltman said his goal is to play in the home opener, next Saturday against the expansion Minnesota Swarm at the Air Canada Centre.

"I don't remember the last time I've been injured so I can't tell you what it will feel like," Veltman said.

"I'm asking (fellow injured defender) Glenn Clark for all the information on injuries right now."

General manager/coach Terry Sanderson appreciated Veltman's honesty.

"He wants to play, but that shows you the type of team guy he is (to sit out)," Sanderson said.

Clark said he's aiming to return for the third game of the season -- Jan. 22 in Philadelphia against the Wings.


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