By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 25, 2001
The game is still three weeks away, but chances of Mario Lemieux playing at the Ice Palace on March 17 seem to be fading.
The superstar has struggled since a hip/back injury at a Feb. 9 practice, and reports from Pittsburgh said Lemieux is expected to sit out the second of back-to-back games the rest of the season. The Penguins play the Panthers in Sunrise on March 16.
Nothing is in stone, of course, but Lemieux recently told Pittsburgh reporters, "If I take two or three days off, I start to feel a big difference. Maybe at this stage, that is what I have to do."
Lemieux has been receiving chiropractic adjustments and is working with a massage therapist.
"One hip is not moving like the other one is," Lemieux said. "I don't think it's fair to the fans that I go out on the ice and not be able to put on a show or play at a decent level. This game is tough enough when you're healthy. When you're not healthy, I think I hurt the team more, especially my linemates."