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Murray feels good despite injury

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens goaltender Matt Murray knew that he jammed his thumb while playing for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey.

What he didn't know was that his hand was broken. 

"I was shocked, to be honest," Murray said of the diagnosis. "I was being completely honest when I said I thought it was minor."

It wasn't until the Pens conducted an MRI that Murray found out that he would miss the next 3-6 weeks with the broken hand.

"It's happened to me before where you jam your thumb, and I'm sure everybody's jammed their thumb once or twice before," Murray told the media on Monday. "It usually turns out to just be a contusion type of thing, a bone bruise. That's what I thought it was."

Although a broken hand may sound bad, the real issue for Murray is with his grip strength.

"I feel pretty good. It's not a terrible injury," said Murray, who will not need surgery to repair the injury. "The only thing keeping me out is the ability to grip my stick properly."

"It doesn't hurt or anything, as long as I'm not using it. It's just the ligament that is a bit loose. But all together, obviously it's a small part of your body so I feel good."

Obviously the team never wants to see players get hurt. But in some ways, the Pens and Murray are fortunate on the timing of the injury. He's already in game shape and has seen game action during the World Cup. At best he may miss a couple of games. At worst, Murray will miss a month of the season.

But with the Pens depth at goal, which includes the franchise's winningest goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury handling the load, there is no need for the team to rush Murray back into the lineup.

For Murray, the biggest challenge will be patience.

"This time of year you definitely don't want to rush back," Murray said. "Obviously I want to get back and get playing again, but you don't want to push yourself too early and then have it re-aggravated."

Murray, who led the Pens to a Stanley Cup championship as a 22-year-old rookie last spring, suffered the injury in a World Cup contest against Russia.

"I just landed on it," he said. "I was diving across the net and landed on it and it kind of snapped back."

Murray was the starting goaltender for North America until his injury. Despite not being able to finish the tournament, he still enjoyed himself during the World Cup of Hockey.

"I had a blast," Murray said. "Our team was a lot of fun to play with. I feel like we were a lot of fun to watch too for the fans because of our speed and skill. We were the young guys and played with no reservations. We just went full speed ahead.

"I wish we could have gone further and had a chance to play against Canada. But it was fun."

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