That's an option. As long as it still spins, you can usually recover data.
What I do is use an item like one of these:http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=usb+ide+sata+adapter&x=0&y=0
Converts IDE or SATA to USB, so it appears like an external HDD, though you don't have to even put it in a case, etc. I have the Rosewill one on that list and have used it numerous times.