Mark Stuart, who participated in his first morning skate today, stayed on the ice for extra conditioning work as he tries to get back into game shape.
"I'm feeling good," Stuart said. "Just trying to get my lungs and my legs back. You've got to be careful. Obviously you want to get in as soon as possible. But in order to be effective, I need to play a high-energy game and a physical game. I'm going to need my legs and my lungs to do that. You have to wait until you're ready enough to help the team. You go on too soon, you might be hurting the team. Just a matter of getting my legs."
Stuart, ordered not to even break a sweat for three weeks because of the fear of infection, will not play tonight. However, Stuart could be available later in the series if the current method of treatment holds up.
"I'm definitely hopeful," Stuart said of playing in this round. "I'm always hopeful that I'm going to get back in there. It's my job to get in shape. The coaches are helping me out with that. Then it's up to the coaches to make the decision whether to put me in the lineup. I realize with where I'm at now that it doesn't matter that I was playing this season. It's the playoffs. Guys are playing well. You've got to earn your spot. You've got to earn your minutes. The only thing I can do is show them I'm in shape and I'm working hard in practice."
Originally, Stuart was told that he would have to wear a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) line for six weeks to receive antibiotics. Now, Stuart is wearing a device on his left arm -- for today's skate, he covered it with a pad and wrapped it -- that delivers antibiotics. If Stuart were to play, he would remove the device and replace it with a fresh one after the game. Stuart's treatments will conclude on May 25.