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Ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle returns to practice after cancer diagnosis

By Times wires
Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]

NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last month, was back on the ice with his Devils teammates Sunday after getting cleared to practice for the first time since his diagnosis.

"I got the news (Saturday) … and a wave of nerves came over me," the former Lightning forward said. "But it’s exciting to get back on a routine and work toward a goal.

"I was a lot better than I thought in some areas. Some of the battles. Just like hands and feet working together that are a little fatigued. The speed of it. … Even throughout the practice I felt better, but still a bit of a ways to go."

The Lightning traded Boyle to the Maple Leafs in February after two-plus seasons, and Boyle signed a two-year, $5.5 million free agent contract with the Devils in the offseason. He was diagnosed with a type of bone marrow cancer during training camp. Team doctor Michael Farber has said the cancer was discovered early and is treatable with medication.

There is no timetable for Boyle’s return to games.