John Tavares Cleared of Structural Damage to Head, Neck, Spine After Scary Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 22, 2021

TORONTO, ON - MAY 20: Toronto Maple Leafs staff attend ro Toronto Maple Leafs Center John Tavares (91) after he was injured during game one of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs on May 20, 2021 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas announced Saturday center John Tavares has been "cleared of all structural damage to his head, neck and spine" after being injured Thursday in Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Dubas noted Tavares suffered a knee injury in addition to a concussion and will be out at least two weeks.

Here's the full update from Dubas:

Toronto Maple Leafs @MapleLeafs

🎥 General Manager Kyle Dubas speaks with the media to provide an update on John Tavares.#LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/SRXXewziAo

Tavares was falling toward the ice after a hit from Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot when his head accidentally struck the knee of Habs winger Corey Perry. He initially tried to get up while being treated by trainers but fell right back to the ice, and the decision was then made to bring out a stretcher.

The Leafs announced Friday their captain was discharged from the hospital and would be "out indefinitely":

Leafs PR @LeafsPR

An update on @MapleLeafs captain John Tavares. pic.twitter.com/sV0dlfpdI8

Dubas added the knee injury will require a minimum of two weeks out of the lineup, but their "primary concern" is making sure he fully recovers from the head injury.

Montreal went on to score a 2-1 win in Game 1 on the strength of a third-period short-handed goal by Paul Byron.

The game also featured a fight between Perry and the Leafs' Nick Foligno after Tavares' exit, which Foligno said was necessary for the series to move forward without issue.

"Our captain is laying on the ice. They would have done the same if [it was] their captain," Foligno told reporters. "[The hit] wasn't malicious. [The fight] takes away any grey [area]. Perry's a big boy. It just allows everyone to go back and play."

Tavares sent a group text to his teammates following the series opener to say he was "feeling better."

Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday night in Toronto at 7 p.m. ET on CNBC in the U.S. and CBC in Canada.