Phoenix Coyotes veteran right wing Shane Doan hasn't been able to suit up since Dec. 4 in Calgary. Since that time, he has been plagued by a unspecified illness -- one which the team has since confirmed to be Rocky Mountain Fever.
The Coyotes captain joined the Burns & Gambo show Friday to talk about his condition, which has been characterized by frequent, prolonged headaches.
"I'm getting better. And I guess that's what we've been wanting, and I've skated a couple of times in the last couple of days -- really kind of brief skates, but I'm out there on skates trying to see what I can push and see what I can do," the 37-year-old wing said. "It's just nice to start to be feeling better and getting going again."
Doan said doctors weren't originally able to identify what illness he had and the exact course of treatment.
"No one's for sure what it was," he said. "And that's probably the hardest part, because I'm like as frustrated as anybody where it's like I want someone to be able to tell me, 'This is what it was and this is what's going on.'"
The captain said the doctors' best initial diagnosis was that he got some form of a bacterial infection. He added that it might have been from "a tick bite, or something along those lines."
He said it was hard not knowing what the illness was during the worst of it and what caused it.
"There (was) nothing definitive. So then when there's nothing definitive, everyone wants to know," the 17-year veteran said. "And trust me, nobody wants to know more than me."
Doan said he had never suffered from severe headaches prior to this condition, but that he started "getting some pretty good ones" that lasted long periods of time, and that each day continues to be unpredictable as to whether they'll come back to some degree.
Despite being able to take the ice and start skating again the last couple days, Doan offered no specific timetable for his return.
"It's really how I feel each day after I've skated and kind of done something, and we're kind of progressing day by day," he said. "I obviously am not where I want to be -- and disappointed in where you feel like you're in the middle of the season (and) you shouldn't feel like I'm feeling."
Doan added that he was fortunate the illness didn't cause him to lose his appetite and that he was still able to get his daily nutrients during the height of the malady.
The team has gone 2-2-2 in his absence. Doan said he thinks the Coyotes may be playing a little better than they were during their hot start to the season, but that they have been "finding a way to lose" lately. The captain said it's been frustrating seeing the team struggle to win games since he's been sidelined.
"I just want to get back playing," he said.