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Injury Report: Rust back, good to go?

Head coach Sullivan comments on the young forward’s availability.

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Injured Pittsburgh Penguins forward Bryan Rust returned to the ice today at PPG Paints Arena, joining his team for their morning skate in advance of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rust has been out of the lineup since suffering an upper body injury back in December. He’s missed 11 games, but looks to be back to full health.

With Dominik Simon acquiring himself well in his brief stint with the Pens this week, it’s unclear if Rust will make his return to the lineup tonight, however. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was hesitant to show his cards to reporters after practice, only labelling Rust as a “game time decision.”

In other gameday news, Sullivan also confirmed that goaltender Casey DeSmith will get the start in goal tonight.

Starter Matt Murray is back with the team following a leave of absence to deal with the death of his father James.

The 23-year-old Murray took an unexpected leave from the team over a week ago and it was eventually reported that Murray had in fact returned home to Thunder Bay, Ontario to mourn with his family. 

An emotional Murray returned to the ice with his teammates last night, but clearly had a difficult time explaining his feelings to reporters. 

Poor guy. This is a kind of hurt that never really heals

Coach Sullivan was also happy to see his starting goaltender back at the rink:

Welcome back, Matt! Condolences and best wishes to you and your family, we just KNOW you’ll use this tragedy to fuel yourself forward. Who wouldn’t be surprised if the kid went on an absolute tear to end the season? Go, Pens go!