November 18, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Grimaldi Out 6-to-8 Weeks

CHN Staff Report

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota freshman Rocco Grimaldi will miss 6-to-8 weeks with an injury. He has been struggling to overcome the injury for weeks, but it was finally determined he needed to sit for a while.

Grimaldi, one of the final cuts from last year's U.S. World Junior team, will assuredly miss out now on an opportunity to participate in this year's tournament.

Grimaldi has a bipartite patella, which means the pieces of his kneecap have not fused together, as it does in all but 6 percent of Americans as they grow. As a result, he is more prone to irritation of the cartilege that holds the pieces of the kneecap together.

Grimaldi injured his knee when he took a shot directly off of it. He originally thought he could play through the injury, but when it wasn't getting better, he went for a second opinion.

"It's just in my right knee, which happened to be the one I took a puck off in practice," Grimaldi said. "And direct contact on bipartite patella is very painful. ... When I try to practice and play, I keep irritating it. If I keep doing that, it will keep happening the rest of the season. So I need to keep (resting it) so I can get back to 100 percent, which I haven't even been close to this year."

He said he hopes to avoid surgery.

"If it's good at 6-to-8 weeks, which I believe it will be, I'll get back to practicing," Grimaldi said. "If not, they'll get in to do some surgery, and they can do it a couple different ways, but I don't think it will get to that."

Grimaldi, a 5-foot-6 native of California, is minus-5 in four games this season, with one goal and one assist. He scored Nov. 5 against Minnesota, the last game he played.

North Dakota has already been hit hard this season with injury, defections, graduation, and players who didn't academically qualify. The Sioux are 3-6-1, including a 1-5 start in the WCHA.

Grimaldi was a second-round pick (33rd overall) of the Florida Panthers in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

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