Patrick Elias will not be ready to start the regular season for the New Jersey Devils because he is recovering from a severe case of hepatitis A, The Newark Star-Ledger reported on Wednesday.
According to the paper, Elias' illness could have cause long-term liver problems.
"It's definitely hard for him," coach Larry Robinson told the Star-Ledger. "For an athlete, it's always hard watching your colleagues go out there and play. In his case, his health is more important than his feelings. We're being very careful. This is not something like a head cold or sprained knee. He was seriously ill."
In the report, Elias said he didn't no how he contracted the illness, which is a virus attacks the liver. It is suspected that he was infected through food or water while playing in Russia last season during the lockout.
He will miss all or most of training camp and will not be ready for the Devils' opener on Oct. 5.
"I knew five months ago that this would be the case," Elias said. "I'm happy with the way (his recuperation) is going, probably better than I thought. It will be tougher when the guys get to play games. I still have to watch myself. My immune system is down, so I have to build that up. It's tough being around 80 guys with the flu and all that."
Elias told the paper he hopes to begin skating in a couple of weeks.
"I can't put a date on (a return). If I do too much, I'll get a pain in the liver area. It expands and pushes on your pancreas," he said. "I'll be on my own program for a while but I like to be around the guys. We haven't seen each other for over a year or so. The guys are fine with me. I still feel like I'm a part of the team. I like to know what's going on and how we're looking."
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