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Crosby takes one on the foot

SUNRISE, FLA.

ey Crosby, the National Hockey League's top scoring rookie, limped off the ice with a bruised left foot last night against the Florida Panthers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins centre blocked a puck off the instep of his skate with about 11 minutes to play in the 6-3 losing effort. The shot, by Panthers defenceman Mike Van Ryn, forced Crosby to hobble to the dressing room. He returned several minutes later and skated one shift, but was in too much pain to continue.

"It's just a bruise . . . it's usually the next day you can tell [the severity]," he said. "I was trying to block the shot and I turned a little bit and it got me in the side of the foot.

"I was in a lot of pain and they said just forget about it and stay off it. No point getting hit there again. I wasn't sure [if it was broken]. But it's just a bruise. Tomorrow I'll see how it feels."

Crosby, who scored his 12th goal in the second period, limped noticeably in the dressing room and winced and supported his weight against a chair when he pulled the right leg of his pants on. He was obviously hurting, but kept his sense of humour.

"You can just say 'foot'," he said with a chuckle, playing on the athletes' reluctance to discuss details of injuries. "You don't have to say 'left foot.' "

The Penguins play the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow, but it was not known last night if Crosby, who has 28 points in 23 games, would be able to play.

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