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Penguins' Crosby could miss month or more with ankle injury

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby's badly sprained ankle will
force him to miss Sunday's NHL All-Star Game, and a number of games
after that. How many still isn't certain.

Crosby, the leading All-Star vote-getter, injured his right
ankle Friday during the Pittsburgh Penguins' 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay,
and the preliminary diagnosis was a high ankle sprain.

Team doctors are expected to re-examine his ankle Tuesday. The
ligament injury normally requires a long recovery -- usually at
least a month, and often longer.

The Penguins placed their captain on the injured list Monday, a
procedural move that allowed them to add an extra forward for their
two games before the break. The move was retroactive to Friday, and
a player must stay on the injury list at least a week.

The NHL has not formally announced Crosby won't play Sunday, but
the nature of the injury means Crosby is certain to be out for an
extended stretch.

For now, the Penguins can only guess how long last season's
scoring champion and MVP will be sidelined from a team that has
overcome a poor start to become a prime Eastern Conference playoff
contender.

Other athletes who have had a high ankle sprain -- it is common
in the NFL -- say it is frustrating because rehabilitation alone
can't cure it and considerable rest is needed.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, for example, has been out
since Dec. 6 with a high ankle sprain and is not yet ready to
return. When Fleury was hurt, it was estimated he would return in
six to eight weeks.

Before their Monday night home game against Washington, the
Penguins recalled forwards Chris Minard, Tim Brent and
Jonathan Filewich from their Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) farm club.

Forward Adam Hall (groin) also went on the injured list, and
defenseman Ryan Lannon was returned to Wilkes-Barre after not
playing in any games during his two weeks with Pittsburgh.

Minard, signed by the Penguins in July, has played
professionally since 2002 but has never been in the NHL. He led
Wilkes-Barre with 17 goals. Brent, who played in 15 games with
Anaheim last season, was Wilkes-Barre's leading scorer with 35
points, including seven goals.

Filewich, a third-round draft pick in 2003, had seven goals and
10 assists at Wilkes-Barre, a falloff from his 56-point season
there a year ago.