Numminen cleared to skate for first time since heart surgery

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen
skated with his teammates Thursday for the first time since open
heart surgery three months ago.

The 39-year-old Numminen was cleared to practice after visiting the Cleveland Clinic on Monday and following up with team doctors
on Wednesday. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff estimates it will be at least
a month before Numminen is ready to return to the lineup.

Numminen had surgery to repair a faulty heart valve in
September. The problem was discovered after a routine checkup
before training camp.