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Crosby Could Return Tonight after Practicing with Team

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Captain Sidney Crosby skated with his teammates for the first time since overcoming the mumps at the Penguins’ morning skate on Thursday afternoon.

Crosby will speak with doctors this afternoon to determine whether or not he will play against the Colorado Avalanche this evening at CONSOL Energy Center.

“I’m going to talk to the doctors and see what they think,” Crosby said. “The fact that I’m able to be around the guys and going about daily things is nice.”

Crosby, 27, skated with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar Wednesday morning prior to the team’s practice. It was his first time being on the ice and back around the team since being quarantined with the mumps.

“After you miss a week, whether you’re injured or whatever, you don’t always feel that great,” Crosby said. “But getting back on the ice and being around your teammates is something that helps. I wouldn’t say I feel great, but I’m also happy to be back here.”

Crosby was in a happy mood considering his past few days of dealing with the mumps. He even joked to reporters: “I’m surprised you guys are this close to me.”

Crosby was in isolation from Friday afternoon to Wednesday until he passed the infectious period of the disease.

“It’s been a boring week,” joked Crosby, who said he slept a lot and watched movies during that time.

Crosby is the 13th confirmed NHL player to be affected by the mumps, though he is the highest profile player to contract the disease. And because of that there has been greater media attention to the outbreak.

“There are 12 other guys that dealt with it before me,” Crosby said. “I guess it took the 13th one to notice it. It’s something that everyone is really cautious of, trying to make sure we do what’s best.”

Beau Bennett was confirmed for having mumps on Tuesday. Thomas Greiss, Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta have also been tested, but their results have yet to come back.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was tested after feeling flu-like symptoms - sore throat, runny nose. His results came back negative for mumps and he will start in goal tonight for Pittsburgh.

“I was pretty confident, I didn’t feel too bad,” Fleury said. “I was glad that they did it to get a result back quickly. I was worried about missing the game tonight.”

Crosby’s mumps saga actually began Nov. 29 in Carolina. A Hurricanes player grabbed his throat, causing an injury to Crosby’s salivary gland. He was tested for mumps (which came back negative) and placed on medication for the swelling in his throat. When the medication period ended, Crosby experienced swelling to the right side of his face.

Crosby was held out of the team’s practice last Thursday and another series of tests were conducted, including for mumps. The tests again came back negative and Crosby showed no symptoms of mumps such as fever, chills and general body aches. So doctors cleared him to skate with his teammates at their morning skate the next day.

During the course of the morning skate, the right side of Crosby’s face swelled. When he came off the ice to speak with the media, his face looked like this...

“When I saw that picture, that’s not what I looked like before I went on the ice,” Crosby said.

The swelling worsened over the course of the day. When the medical staff saw the swelling, they decided to hold him out of the team’s Friday and Saturday games as a precaution and another round of tests were conducted. This time Crosby’s DNA was sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The results came back positive for mumps on Saturday evening.

“I had a previous thing that happened (salivary gland injury) a couple weeks before that that I was dealing with for at least 10 days to two weeks, basically in the same area that the mumps,” Crosby said. “Of course it was the perfect situation. Our staff is well aware of it. They’ve done a great job. We had all our blood tests run before that. All my tests were negative. The fact that I had that incident before that threw everyone off and that the tests were negative. I think it’s just one of those things.

“Everyone did the right things to make sure me and everyone was as protected as you can be. Sometimes you can’t do anything about it. People get sick.”

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