Knee injury to keep Nolan out for rest of season

TORONTO -- Owen Nolan has ruled out returning to NHL this season because of a right knee injury.

The 33-year-old unrestricted free agent last played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2003-04. He had surgery last year.

"My knee is still not at the stage where I could be cleared to play," Nolan said Thursday. "I was looking forward to signing and making an impact in the playoffs, but I am simply not as far along as I had hoped.

"It would not be fair to the teams that expressed an interest in my services if I could not give them 100 percent of my abilities. Overall, I am probably in the best shape I have been in years. I look forward to getting my rehab finalized over the next few months and signing with a team this summer," he said.

Nolan's knee injury led to three grievances with the Maple Leafs: One in December 2004 over an alleged improper suspension, one in January 2005 over the Leafs' refusal to pay the $5.6 million salary for that season, and a third in September 2005 when the club did not honor the option clause in his 2005-06 contract.

He has 349 goals and 386 assists in 915 regular-season games in 14 season with Quebec-Colorado, San Jose and Toronto. In 65 games in 2003-04, he had 19 goals and 29 assists for the Maple Leafs.