After taking part in his first practice sine Sept. 12 and just his second of training camp right wing Jaromir Jagr believes he will be ready to play in the Devils’ regular season opener on Oct. 3 – one week from Thursday – in Pittsburgh.

Jagr 41 is recovering from what he described as a muscle problem in the left side of his back and his left hip.

“We’ve got eight days” Jagr said this afternoon. “Hopefully nothing bad happens. Hopefully tomorrow is better than today and you just go from there.”

Jagr is operating however as if he will be ready to play in Pittsburgh – the city in which his NHL career began back in 1990-91.

“Of course” he said. “If I’m going to have a good practice tomorrow maybe it would be a good idea to play against Philly (in Thursday’s preseason finale). But you guys have got to talk to the coaches first and (GM) Lou (Lamoriello) is going to make the decision.”

Jagr would like to play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Flyers at Prudential Center but said that decision won’t be up to him completely.

“If I could I would like to” Jagr said. “I was practicing on my own and now I’ll get two practices (with other players) before the game and the game is something different – the one-on-one battles. It’s totally different. It’s more straight up and down (during practice) and during a game it’s one-on-one and the quickness.”

Jagr took today what he called “the first step” toward being ready for the opener. He believes his injury was related to his 15-hour flight to New Jersey from the Czech Republic on Sept. 9.

“It was just muscles in everything – the back and the hip” Jagr said. “It’s all connected. I think it’s got something to do with the plane ride.”

Jagr felt it nearly immediately in his first practice of camp on Sept. 12 and left the ice after only 10 minutes.

“I knew it wasn’t good when it happened to me in the first practice” Jagr said. “It probably had something to do with the plane ride. It’s still traveling for 15 hours so it’s not easy. I knew I have extra time than during the regular season so I want to be as strong as I can be and make sure nothing bad happens again. Nothing is guaranteed but I just wanted to make sure.”

Jagr said this kind of injury “never happened to me in training camp so I guess it’s not normal but it happened.”