December 29, 2006 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Fritsche Returns to OSU Lineup

CHN Staff Report

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State junior Tom Fritsche will play his first game of the season today against Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the Ohio Hockey Classic.

Fritsche was diagnosed over the summer with a severe form of ulcerative colitis, a rare intestinal condition that caused him to lose 45 pounds (to 145). At one time it was feared that the junior, the team's leading returning scorer, could be lost for the season.

"Basically, I just lost a whole bunch of weight," Fritsche told the Columbus Dispatch. "To get back in the lineup, first the medicine had to kick in and then I had to get my legs back and get my strength back."

Fritsche had 45 points as a freshman for the Buckeyes, and was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the second round of the 2005 NHL draft. Last season, he had 30 points.

Ohio State coach John Markell indicated that he expects Fritsche to get short shifts, and limited time overall.

"Well make sure the body stays nice and sound," Markell told the paper. "The mind will be there, but hes going to have to be real careful not to get caught out there. If we can utilize him in short spurts, I think he can play the game and obviously it will be a welcomed return."

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