Rick DiPietro’s contract is worth a lot more than $6-million, but it’s easy to see why the oft-injured New York Islanders goalie is comparing himself to the Six Million Dollar Man.
DiPietro has yet another surgery scheduled, on Tuesday, this time for a sports hernia expected to keep him out until at least April.
It was just the latest in a litany of surgeries DiPietro has required, a point the goaltender made to Newsday, which first reported the news.
“This is something I thought would just heal up and go away, and instead it got more and more debilitating,” DiPetro told the paper. “I’m almost bionic at this point.”
The latest need for DiPietro’s doctors to rebuild him was due to an injury that kept him out since Dec. 3, when he sustained a groin injury.
After the injury persisted to bother DiPietro, doctors discovered the sports hernia, according to Newsday.
At 30, DiPietro still has nine years remaining on his 15-year deal reportedly worth $67.5-million. Despite numerous injuries and surgeries on his hip, face and a pair of knee surgeries, DiPietro told Newsday he has no plans to end a career that has seen him play just 47 games in the last four years.
“Nothing like that has even crossed my mind,” he said. “Knock on wood, the doctors have said this is something you can come back from. Lots of athletes have. I know I still want to play.”
While the unfortunate question for DiPietro the last few years has been wondering how long he can remain healthy after coming back from one injury after the other, general manager Garth Snow said the team is behind the goalie.
“I have confidence he can get through this,” Snow said, according to Newsday. “He’ll have the surgery and in a few weeks, hopefully, he’ll be back on the ice.”
The Islanders have mostly used Evgeni Nabokov in DiPietro’s absence, as he has drawn 10 straight starts. Rookie Kevin Poulin is also in the mix, though, and could start Saturday, according to Newsday.