Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador said today that he had an inner-ear infection and has been cleared to resume playing.
Salvador will not play in tonight's game against the Rangers, but expects to be ready for Tuesday's game in St. Louis, where he played for seven seasons before being traded to the Devils in February.
Salvador skated this morning with the scratches for tonight's game and the coaches. It was the third time he was on the ice since he was cleared medically to resume physical activity.
It remains unclear whether his ear problem was related to the shot he took in the face from Pittsburgh's Alex Goligoski on Dec. 10.
"Whether it had anything to do with the puck in the face or not, we really don't know," Salvador said.
The Devils were mysteriously calling Salvador's ailment an "upper body injury". Salvador said he started to feel pain in his ear "three or four days after" he was hit in the face. "Exactly when it happened is hard to tell because I was in pain anyway from being hit," he said.
Salvador played four games after he was hit. Although there was some initial concern that he might have a concussion, Salvador said he never thought it was one.
"I played and I felt fine," he said. "But my ear was bothering me. It kind of felt like when you fly and you try to pop it."
Salvador said the pain got worse after he flew to Toronto and Buffalo for the Devils' games on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17. "There was definitely pressure building in the ear," he said.
He played only two periods in the Buffalo game before sitting out the third. He hasn't played since.
"I judge things on whether I'm able to protect myself and I felt a little dizzy and it affected my balance a little bit," he said. "That was when we felt it was time to look into it."
Salvador said the team doctors looked at his ear and "they weren't seeing anything. That was when we decided to see a specialist."
Salvador saw an ear specialist on Dec. 18. That was when it was determind he had an inner-ear infection.
Now, he just has to get his conditioning back.
"I hadn't skated for six or seven days," he said.
He feels there will be enough time to be ready for the game against the Blues.
"Inner-ear infection or no inner-ear infection, I really want to play in that game," he said.