Isles' DiPietro Out for Season With Knee Injury

New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is out for the season after playing only five games because of persistent problems with his surgically repaired left knee.

The Islanders cited persistent swelling and took precautionary action because they are not in playoff contention.

“After extensive consultation we feel this decision is in the best interest for Rick and the team,'' Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement Tuesday. “This will allow Rick ample time to make a full recovery for next year.''

The Islanders (12-29-5) will enter this weekend's All-Star break with the fewest wins and points in the 30-team NHL.

DiPietro is in the third season of a landmark contract, having agreed to a $67.5 million, 15-year deal in the summer of 2006.

The 27-year-old goalie made a few early season appearances following surgery on his right knee, but then was shelved again after an operation on the left knee in October. After the initial knee surgery in June, DiPietro backed up Joey MacDonald for the first four games of the season, but didn't see any action.

He then made three straight starts, but lasted only one period against Carolina on Oct. 25. DiPietro had arthroscopic surgery Oct. 31 to repair a torn cartilage in the left knee. DiPietro allowed five goals on 33 shots in a loss at Phoenix on Jan. 2.

After another cartilage tear was discovered, DiPietro underwent a second arthroscopic procedure on the left knee.

“This has been one of the most frustrating situations I have ever had to deal with, but this is the right decision for me and the team,'' DiPietro said in a statement. “I am confident this will allow me to make a complete recovery, be ready in plenty of time for next season and compete to my highest ability for many years to come.''

DiPietro has had four operations in seven months, including a hip procedure in March. That marked the second time DiPietro had hip surgery, once on each side in consecutive years.

“I'd like to thank Islanders fans for their patience and I look forward to playing in front of them next season,'' he said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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