White plays for first time this season despite eye injury

PITTSBURGH -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Colin White
played for the first time this season Wednesday night, taking
regular shifts during a 2-1 victory in Pittsburgh nine weeks after
a deflected shot during practice damaged his right eye.

White has blurred vision in his injured eye, but wanted to test
his sight during game action. He resumed practicing two weeks ago
but, until Tuesday, had skated only with the Devils' extra players
and not with the regulars.

"His presence showed," goaltender Martin Brodeur said.
"That's a big body and a big stick."

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound White played 17 minutes, 25 seconds in
23 shifts. He was credited with six of the Devils' 15 hits and
blocked two shots.

"I kept it simple and it worked out," White said. "It's
always nice to get back on the ice. Everybody played so hard, it
was a total team effort and it was nice to be part of that."

After being hurt Sept. 15, White stayed off skates for a month.

White, expected be one of the Devils' top two defensemen, can
play up to 20 games before deciding whether his vision is good
enough to continue his career. If he stops playing before then, he
can retire and qualify for NHL permanent disability benefits.

The way he was talking after the game, White believes he can
play with no appreciable effect on his game. White played on the
Devils' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2000 and 2003.

"You kind of get used to it," White said of his altered
vision. "You don't really remember what you were [before]. If I
close my other eye, I can see a big difference. But when you keep
them both open, your other eye takes over so much."

White, who turns 30 next month, has 15 goals and 64 assists in
465 career NHL games. He is making $3 million this season.

"I can find the puck, and I felt pretty good," said White, who
is now wearing a visor. "It will take a couple of games to get my
legs totally back under me. I'll just keep it short, keep it simple
and build up my conditioning."

New York Islanders defenseman Bryan Berard resumed his career
despite nearly losing his right eye when struck by Marian Hossa's
stick in a 2000 game, when Berard played for Toronto. Berard sat
out one season but returned with the Rangers in the 2001-02 season.