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(MIKE CASSESE)
(MIKE CASSESE)

Kessel struggling with muscle cramp Add to ...

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel was on the ice at practice Monday for only a few minutes before leaving with a muscle cramp or strain that has been bothering him since Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins.

Kessel missed roughly 10 to 15 minutes on Saturday with what the team believed to be a cramp but returned to the game and was on the ice for Miroslav Satan's overtime winner.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson said Kessel was sent off the ice Monday once it was determined he was still battling the issue.

"If you can't go full, there's no point practising," Wilson said after practice.

It's unknown if Kessel will play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers as the Leafs are awaiting a diagnosis.

"We're trying to discover what it is," Wilson said. "A muscle cramp or a muscle pull, so (we) sent him to the doctor and maybe later on today I'll know and if not today, then I'll know tomorrow."

Asked about where Kessel is ailing, Wilson played coy.

"I'm not going to say," he said.

Kessel leads the Leafs in goals (30), points (55) and ice time among forwards (19:41 per game) despite missing the first month of the season recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. He's tied for fourth overall in the NHL with 295 shots on goal.

Toronto has only three games remaining on its schedule: Tuesday's home finale against Philadelphia, Wednesday against the New York Rangers, and Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

The most points they can finish the season with is 78, three shy of their total last season. With a win on Tuesday, however, the Leafs can move into a tie with the Florida Panthers or Tampa Bay Lightning if either of the Florida-based clubs loses their home games that same night.

 

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