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Komet Brent Henley in 2008.

Henley battling to play

For most players, a goal and an assist in three games isn't a big deal.

For Brent Henley, it's uncharacteristic.

"But that's not what I get paid to do," said Henley, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Komets defenseman.

He's with the Komets to be physical and solid defensively. He did those things, too, as the Komets went 3-0-0 to improve to 9-5-0 overall.

Henley was plus-7 last week.

For the season, Henley has one goal, three points and is plus-8 in nine games. He's on pace for his best statistical season ever, though he only has to eclipse the nine points he totaled for South Carolina of the ECHL and Toronto of the American Hockey League in 2003-04.

Henley is just happy to be on the ice, though, after missing 1 1/2 years because of multiple surgeries on his knee. After coming back this season, he played only seven games (one with Utah of the ECHL, six with the Komets) before straining the other knee.

After sitting out 10 days, how did he feel last week?

"Like a 31-year-old with two bad knees," he said. "But (trainer Shawn) Dundon takes good care of me. And with as much time off as I had last year, just to be able to play again, regardless of what hurts and what doesn't, I'm just happy to play."

For a guy who has to do so much icing of joints and makes a living hitting and punching opponents, he played well last week.

"It's almost a running joke right now," Henley said. "My bad knee felt good (last week) and my good knee felt bad. Just to get in the lineup is all I care about, and to contribute in any way. If I'm healthy enough to play, I'm going to play. If it hurts, it hurts."

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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