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Report: Zach Parise won’t start skating again until March; is his season over?

Dec 26, 2010, 4:00 PM EST

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Considering the fact that the New Jersey Devils find themselves deep in the NHL and Eastern Conference basement, you have to wonder if it’s best for them to pull the plug on Zach Parise‘s season altogether.

After all, the team’s best player (sorry Ilya Kovalchuk and Marin Brodeur) won’t be able to skate again until March at the earliest, according to Tom Gulitti.

Parise was originally slated to return around February or so, but the talented left winger’s doctor recommended that he wait until at least their next meeting in March to get back on the ice in general.

It’s a disappointment for the Devils and Parise, but the two sides need to be realistic about his prospects. The news must hurt Parise in particular, as this year was supposed to be a contract year in which he really built his earning power. While $3.1 million sounds like a lot of money (OK, it still is), it was quite the bargain for a player of his caliber. You don’t often get a four-time 30+ goal scorer (as well as someone who already hit the 90-plus point mark) for that kind of price beyond their entry-level deals, but the Devils received such value with Parise.

Gulitti shared the team’s and player’s reaction to the bad news today.

Parise is recovering from Nov. 2 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and has begun physical therapy. But, though a follow-up examination at the Cleveland Clinic earlier this month showed the knee is healing properly, Dr. Anthony Miniaci, who performed his surgery, recommended that Parise not begin skating until after he examines him again in March.

The original prognosis was that Parise would miss three months and that he would be back in early February.

“I was really disappointed to find out that I won’t be able to start skating until after I see him again in March,” Parise told me via e-mail. “I didn’t expect it to be this long, especially after he said how happy he was with it all so far. It’s a long time to go without playing.”

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is hopeful that Parise will be back in time to play some games this season, saying. “You can’t look at the total negative.” But it is possible that we won’t see Parise play in a game again until next season.

It’s hard to argue with the logic that comes with keeping him out the rest of the 2010-11 season, much like it makes sense that the Dallas Cowboys decided to keep Tony Romo on the shelf. We’ll keep you updated about Parise’s status, but it might be best if he does what most Devils fans are already doing: waiting ’til next year.

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