BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen is recovering from open heart surgery and is expected to be released from a Cleveland hospital within days.
The 39-year-old Finn said he could return to the Sabres by December. He had surgery last week to repair a faulty valve.
``Teppo's feeling stronger every day, and hopefully he will be released from the hospital in the next several days,'' Buffalo team doctor William Hartrich said Tuesday after conferring with Numminen's attending physician at the Cleveland Clinic. ``He's extremely pleased with Teppo's postoperative recovery.''
Numminen, an 18-year NHL veteran, has had a heart murmur since childhood and was diagnosed with a dilated aorta in 2004 wile playing for the Dallas Stars. Numminen missed five games because of the condition before he was cleared to play.
The condition also forced him to miss one game and part of another during a playoff series against Philadelphia in 2006.

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