(Reuters) - Sidney Crosby returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup on Thursday after missing three games when he became one of the latest National Hockey League players to be sidelined with the mumps in the past month.
The league's reigning Most Valuable Player was on the ice for the opening faceoff against the visiting Colorado Avalanche and skating on a line with Nick Spaling and Patric Hornqvist.
Crosby had returned to the ice on Wednesday for the first time since being diagnosed last weekend and skated on his own before the Penguins practised.
The mumps virus has been sweeping through the NHL since early November and 15 players have officially been diagnosed, the most recent being Crosby's team mate Beau Bennett.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes