Kris Letang Injury: Updates on Penguins Defenseman's Status, Likely Return Date
Pittsburgh Penguins star defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, according to head coach Dan Bylsma.
Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette originally reported that Letang was ailing on Saturday:
Kris Letang has what is believed to be a lower-leg injury, will stay off ice tomorrow and be further evaluated back home. #Penguins— Shelly Anderson (@pgshelly) September 28, 2013
The Associated Press then noted later in the day that the timeline of the 26-year-old's injury would indeed be indefinite (h/t ESPN) after he underwent evaluation. Bylsma noted that it was a lower-body injury, per the report.
The Penguins have since placed Letang on injured reserve.
From the Penguins' official Twitter feed:
"With team’s success I’ve been watching every game from the press box. I’m excited to be a part of the team on the ice & help them win" -58— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 25, 2013
UPDATE: Friday, Oct. 11
Dave Molinari of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the latest on Letang's road to recovery:
He won't be in uniform for the Penguins' game against Florida tonight at 7:43 p.m., but barring a setback, is getting closer to making his 2013-14 debut.
"He’s progressing," said coach Dan Bylsma, who was quick to add that "today’s practice won’t be an indication that he’s ready to go or not ready to go" even though he clearly was impressed by how Letang has gotten around the ice during the past two days.
"He's good in that regard, in terms of getting up and down the ice and skating ability," Bylsma said.
How Letang responds to today's contact, as well as that he's scheduled to get Saturday and Monday, will determine when he takes the next step in his recovery.
"We’ll probably see how the next three days go, to see how he’s progressing," Bylsma said. "Whether he’s doing well with that, or whether we’d have to taper his progression."
UPDATE: Tuesday, Oct. 8
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review provides an update on Letang's progress:
D Kris Letang (lower body) skated on his own Tuesday, his third day of that activity. There is no timetable for his return to practice.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Oct. 1
From Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Correction: Letang can come off IR oct. 8.— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) October 1, 2013
From Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Bylsma confirms that Letang's injury doesn't appear to be long-term. #Penguins— Shelly Anderson (@pgshelly) October 1, 2013
UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 30
The Penguins have confirmed that they have placed Kris Letang on Injured Reserve, per a release on the team website:
Letang was signed to an eight-year contract extension worth $58 million in July. Unfortunately he will not be able to prove to the organization—or to those invested in the NHL—that he can live up to that contract anytime soon.
After grabbing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference during the recent lockout-shortened season, the Penguins cruised to the conference finals before being swept 4-0 by the Boston Bruins.
This loss is an immediate blow for Pittsburgh in its bid to recover from its postseason disappointment.
As important as Letang is on the defensive end, he is also a key cog in the Penguins' high-powered attack as a legitimate two-way force. Letang is coming off a sensational campaign in which he scored five goals and notched 33 assists for 38 points in just 35 games played.
That type of play helped Pittsburgh rank first in the league in averaging 3.4 goals per contest last season and second in power-play percentage, converting with the advantage 24.7 percent of the time.
The Penguins open the 2013-14 regular season at home against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 3, and it looks as though the team will be without Letang for an extended period of time.
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