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What's a Joint like You doing in a Race Like This?

The doctor from Buffalo was late, and Bobby Orr was antsy. This was his fifth knee operation since he joined the Bruins nine years before, in 1966, and Boston's most cherished athlete was eager to be rid of the bone fragments that were lodged in his left knee, locking it when he stepped out of the car or onto the rink. The sooner the surgery, the sooner he'd be back on the ice to finish the 1975-76 season. Orr knew he was on borrowed time, that his knee was rapidly eroding, and his skating years were numbered. But he thought he had enough for the Bruins to renew his soon-to-expire contract.

The problem, and the reason for the delay this morning at Massachusetts General Hospital, was that the Bruins weren't so sure. This was Orr's second operation of the season; he had already missed the first 12 games, and it was only November 29. the team's new owner, the Jacob's family of Buffalo, had summoned a physician from its hometown to observe this operation and assess how many more spins around the ice Orr's knee could handle. But the clock ticked and still there was no doc, and Orr was tired of waiting.

"Fix me," he told his surgeon Carter Rowe.

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