Bruins’ McAvoy clears protocols, lined up for Game 5 loss

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy made a surprise return to the playoff roster in Tuesday night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes after missing a game due to protocols COVID-19.

McAvoy was scratched late for Sunday’s fourth game and was due to join injured defender Hampus Lindholm in the miss. Instead, he hopped on a private flight to North Carolina and was spotted entering the PNC Arena, then joining his team for warm-ups as the Bruins tweeted that McAvoy cleared the protocol.

McAvoy would not discuss details of his illness after the 5-1 loss.

“I know a lot of you are going to be asking about the COVID stuff,” McAvoy said. “But I cleared the protocol today so that’s where we are now. I just kind of want to leave that in the past if you’re able to stick to that and we can just talk about the game.”

The league stopped testing those who showed no symptoms during the all-star break, except when necessary to cross the Canada-US border. According to league protocols, at least five days must have passed since the onset of symptoms and a player must test negative to be cleared to return.

McAvoy played in the Bruins’ Game 3 win Friday night, four nights before Game 5. He declined to say when he felt ill.

“Yes, I got sick,” he said. “I walked through it, then I came out the other side and here we are now.”

Coach Bruce Cassidy had said earlier Tuesday that McAvoy would be out for Game 5 before learning around noon that he had been cleared to return.

McAvoy, who plays a key role in the Bruins’ power play and penalty kill units, saw more than 25 minutes of ice time and said he was “a little tired.”

“We planned to play without him,” Cassidy said. “It was a nice surprise that he was taken out of protocol to bring him into the line-up. You could see he was running out of time a bit, he wasn’t 100 per cent, but he gave what he had and should be better in game six.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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