Bure Fails Physical

Archived from 2003-04 season.

NHL teams

The New York Rangers suffered a major setback as right wing right wing Pavel Bure's damaged right knee failed a team physical and he was declared medically unable to play.

"Pavel worked extremely hard this summer to do everything in his power to get his knee to a point where he would be able to play," Rangers general manager and coach Glen Sather said. "We are all very disappointed for him, knowing the effort he put in."

Bure had 19 goals and 11 assists in 39 games for the Rangers last season, but his injured knee bothered him. He had two arthroscopic surgeries on the knee during the season after suffering the injury in a pre-season game.

"I have been through surgeries so many times and I always want to come back and play, and I still want to come back and play right now," Bure said. "Sometimes you just have to deal with what you have to deal with. I will still continue doing what I can do, my exercises. The most important thing is that I'm going to try to get better."

Bure underwent knee reconstructions in 1995 and 1999, and a July 30 examination by the Rangers' orthopedic surgeon revealed damage that may require more surgery.

"It's going the other way, it's getting worse," Bure said. "I can't control that -- trainers, doctors, none of us can control and I don't know that there is any other special program to try, but it is getting worse. I have had five surgeries and two reconstructions and if I have another one, nobody can guarantee it is going to get better."

Bure has a $10 million guaranteed contract for the 2003-04 season that is fully insured. The team would be reimbursed for 80 percent of the contract if he is unable to play.

"I had a good idea last year right at the trading deadline that this wasn't going to come out the way we would like," Sather said. "Obviously when I got Alex (Kovalev) and (Anson) Carter, that sort of settled my own mind at that time that it didn't look like it was going to happen."

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