Report: Islanders target mid-December for DiPietro's return Staff

11/30/2009 4:53:37 PM

The New York Islanders may have oft-injured goaltender Rick DiPietro back in net in two weeks.

According to Newsday, DiPietro took part in the team's 90-minute practice on Monday under the watchful eye of general manager Garth Snow, who was impressed with his progress.

"We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves,'' Snow told Newsday. "He's practicing today, he'll practice again tomorrow. Then at some point he'll do a conditioning stint in Bridgeport (AHL) and if everything goes well, I would think the middle of December.''

The Islanders have been reluctant to place any timetable on DiPietro's return since he has suffered setbacks in the past.

Last season, the former first overall pick played in just five games before being shut down for the year with lingering knee problems.

DiPietro refused to mention a target date for his return but he sounds optimistic that he may be back playing games soon.

"I've kind of really tried to put myself out of that whole thing,'' DiPietro told the newspaper after practice. "I think how my knee responds and how I practice will prove to everyone involved when I'm ready to come back. I just continue to feel better, which is a positive sign. It's exciting to be back.''