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Shane Doan returns to Coyotes after bout with Rocky Mountain spotted fever

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This photo is actually really gross when you consider Doan left the team the next day with a pretty nasty illness.

Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was unhappy with his team's effort Thursday night versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, so he has to be happy with the news out of Phoenix the following morning.

Shane Doan, one of hockey's great try-hards and a captain that tends to instill effort in his teammates, has finally been cleared to play.

Doan hasn't played since December 4, out with what was originally thought to be a flu but turned out to be, of all things, Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

No one quite knows how Doan picked up the illness, which affects the cells that line the blood vessels and is usually transmitted via tick, but however he got it, he got it bad, missing a month of hockey.

He's been off antibiotics for a little while, but his energy has remained low. Even after he skated at practice last Monday, the team was unsure when he'd be able to rejoin the team for a game.

“It’s not if he can get through practice and the skate,” coach Dave Tippett told Sarah McLellan. “It’s what happens after that. The other day he skated for a little bit in the morning in Anaheim and slept four hours in the afternoon. He skated for an hour for us today. If he sleeps 10 hours later today, that’s probably not a good sign.”

Fortunately, it would appear Doan's energy is back, and now he's poised to bring it to a lineup that could desperately use it. It couldn't come at a better time for the Coyotes, who are still holding onto a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference, but have gone five games without a win in regulation.

To make room for the returning Doan, the Coyotes sent Chris Brown -- the unfortunately named forward, not the awful person/R&B star -- back to the AHL.

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Harrison Mooney is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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