Cranberry, Twp — It was a gray non-contact jersey, but it was also a first step for Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust, who practiced with the team for the first time since he suffered an injury Oct. 14. On Wednesday, the Penguins got more good news at the UPMC Lemieux Complex when Kris Letang joined the practice, too.
Rust has been nursing a lower-body injury since the second game of the season. On Oct. 18, head coach Mike Sullivan termed him out week-to-week.
PHN will update all statuses after practice–sometime around 12:30 p.m.
Also at practice on Wednesday, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang joined the team as a full participant. On Monday, Letang cleared the COVID protocol and took his cardio tests. Letang suffered symptoms from COVID, and his return to game action is not automatic.
Letang played in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first four games and notched four assists before testing positive. He did not spend 10 full days in the protocol, which means he must have tested negative twice. The Penguins announced he entered protocol on Oct. 23.
You’ll forgive me for skipping the links and scientific explanations that vaccinated individuals often dispose of COVID more quickly and are less infectious than their unvaccinated counterparts. That’s 100% true, but something tells me it falls on deaf ears.
However, with every bit of good news in Pittsburgh Penguins land, the universe must balance it with a little bit of concern or bad news.
On Wednesday, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was absent from practice, including defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, and Chad Ruhwedel.
Since Tuesday was an off day and not the only one this week, a maintenance day might be a hard sell. Sidney Crosby returned from offseason wrist surgery on Saturday in the Penguins’ 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, though he was also a full participant at practice on Monday.
Dumoulin played the right side in practice on Monday, allowing head coach Mike Sullivan to experiment with his lineup. Sullivan inserted rookie P.O. Joseph onto the second pairing with John Marino.
Without three regular defensemen, Juuso Riikola and Mark Friedman comprised the third pairing at practice on Wednesday. Joseph again skated with Marino, and Letang skated beside Mike Matheson.