Mark Stuart Hasn’t Ruled Out Game 4 Return

Defenseman Mark Stuart skated on Tuesday, marking his fifth straight day on the ice and second straight practice with his fellow teammates.

Since early April, Stuart has been battling back from two surgeries to kill cellulitis in his finger and is still sporting an antibiotic portal on his forearm that will remain for another two weeks — even if he returns to game action. But while Stuart feels a lot better these days, he ruled out playing in Game 3 Wednesday night in Philadelphia and said he didn’t know about Game 4 on Friday.

“I just need to get in a few more skates and keep moving the puck and we’ll see how it goes,” Stuart said. “But no, not [Wednesday].”

Stuart admitted he is getting quite antsy watching his team jump out to a 2-0 lead in this Eastern Conference Semifinal series but he knows that unless he is 100 percent ready, it’s not worth hurting the team’s current chemistry and success.

“You just want to get in there — it’s the playoffs, it’s fun and it’s the best time of year,” he said. “But if I’m going to play, I've gotta be ready. I can’t just go in there because it’s not like we don’t have six D-men playing their best hockey right now, because we do. So it’s going to do us no good right now to put a guy in there who’s been out for two months just to rush him back. I feel good, but it’s a coach’s decision and I’ll be ready when the opportunity comes.”

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