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Penguins' Sidney Crosby crashes into boards, leaves with high ankle sprain

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby injured an ankle while crashing into the rear boards leg-first midway through the first period of Friday night's game against Tampa Bay, and will reportedly be sidelined four weeks.

Crosby was favouring his right leg as he was helped off the ice, in visible pain, but the Penguins said only that he would be re-evaluated Saturday by team doctors. Fox Sports Pittsburgh reported Crosby would miss approximately four weeks.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sustained the same injury Dec. 6 and has yet to return, and it may be well into February before he comes back. Such a sprain would be certain to cause Crosby to miss the NHL all-star game Jan. 27 in Atlanta.

Crosby was carrying the puck in the Lightning end when Tampa Bay defenceman Paul Ranger rammed him with his stick, as Crosby was shooting from the right circle, and Crosby swiped at the puck again as he landed on the ice rear-end first. His momentum caused him to slam into the boards awkwardly with his right leg, his left leg raised, apparently unable to cushion himself as he normally would.

Crosby initially got to his feet and began to limp toward the Penguins bench, only to turn around and enter a doorway that leads to the tunnel to the Penguins locker room. He bent over after reaching the walkway and had to be helped to the dressing room.

Ranger was called for slashing on the play, but the Penguins did not score on the ensuing power play.

Crosby, the NHL's scoring champion and MVP at age 19 last season, had moved into a tie with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier with 63 points going into Friday night's games. Crosby had five goals and 15 assists in his previous 12 games.

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