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Mitera disappointed, but taking injury well

BY NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
Published October 16, 2008

A week after senior captain Mark Mitera was injured in the season opener, he's still mulling over his options, his father said in an interview Thursday.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Mitera suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Friday's first-period collision.

Ken Mitera, Mark's father, said the family hasn’t made a decision, which could include surgery or rehabilitating part of the knee. Michigan coach Red Berenson said last weekend that the family and doctors are waiting for the knee’s swelling to go down and then re-evaluate it.

“We really haven’t come to a decision yet,” Ken said. “It’s going to be another couple of weeks. We really want to look to the doctors’ advice and see what they feel is in Mark’s best interest in the long term.”

Teammates said he was in the locker room before Saturday’s game against St. Lawrence talking to players and giving advice. Mitera was seen sporting a full leg brace Wednesday when he watched practice along with other injured defensemen, junior Steve Kampfer and freshman Brandon Burlon.

Mitera could have a chance to play on the ice later this season for the Wolverines, according to his father. But no matter what, Mitera's captaincy and leadership will not end with his playing time.

“I know he wants to be around his teammates,” Ken said. “He wants to be involved, and he’ll continue to do that. … He’ll be at the games. He’ll travel with the team when he can.

“I think he still wants to feel very much like he’s a part of (the team). If he can’t lead on the ice ... he can provide support and leadership off the ice.”

Though Mitera is in “good spirits,” according to his father, he’s also disappointed. There’s no way to prepare for an unexpected injury like he sustained, not even with the best conditioning or on-ice awareness.

“I think he’s accepting reality and that sometimes, life unexpectedly deals you a bad card,” Ken said. “You find a way to work through it. ... It’s unfortunate. There’s no other way to look at it.”