Coyotes captain Shane Doan cleared for return

Sidelined since Dec. 4, captain Shane Doan could return to the Coyotes' lineup as early as Saturday after a bout with Rocky Mountain Fever.

37-year-old had been battling Rocky Mountain Fever

Shane Doan has been cleared to play following a bout with Rocky Mountain Fever. (Matt York/Associated Press)

Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan has been cleared to return after a bout with Rocky Mountain Fever and could play this weekend.

Out since Dec. 4, Doan made a slow recovery, but has been skating with the team and hopes to play against Philadelphia on Saturday night.

"I think my energy level is high," Doan said Friday. "Obviously, it's the first game and with everything kind went on the past month, we'll see how the energy level is. Hopefully, it'll be good, but I'm not worried about that because I've done everything I can to feel good and be ready to go."

Doctors were unsure of what was causing Doan's flu-like symptoms when he first fell ill. He slowly started to improve by taking antibiotics and doctors determined he had Rocky Mountain Fever, a bacterial disease that affects the lining of blood cells and is often contracted by ticks.

Doan steadily increased his activities, first away from the ice, and joined his team in practice this week. The Coyotes had targeted Doan's return for next week, but he's looked so good — not to mention anxious to play — that there's a good chance he'll play against the Flyers.

"The way he looks out there and he's got the green light from the doctors, I would think that it would be hard to keep him out of the game tomorrow night," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

Doan got off to one of the best starts of his career this season, scoring 12 goals and adding 11 assists in 27 games. The Coyotes have been uneven in 12 games without their captain, going 4-3-5 while missing his presence on the ice as several other players have missed games with injuries or illnesses.

"We've been in so many tight games and it's tough to watch when you're in tight games and want to help out," Doan said. "Guys are battling and doing everything they can to find ways to win, and you want to help out."

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