Maple Leafs' John Tavares Out of Hospital After Injury from Being Kneed in Head

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMay 21, 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)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced Friday that center John Tavares is out indefinitely after getting kneed in the head during the Leafs' Game 1 first-round playoff loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

The Maple Leafs added that Tavares was released from the hospital Friday and is home resting under the supervision of team doctors.

Tavares released a statement on Twitter on Friday afternoon:

John Tavares @91Tavares


The injury occurred in the first period of the Leafs' 2-1 loss when Tavares fell to the ice on a clean hit by Ben Chiarot before taking a knee to the head from Habs forward Corey Perry. The 30-year-old captain stayed motionless on the ice until trainers could attend to him. Tavares was then seen falling over again as he tried to regain himself.

That led to trainers immediately calling for a stretcher as the terrifying scene quieted Scotiabank Arena. 

"I honestly felt sick to my stomach when I saw it," Perry later told reporters. "When I saw him, with the way he is, it's a scary situation. I'll reach out to him and talk to him, and hopefully he's OK."

Tavares was alert enough to give a thumbs-up sign as he was taken away by paramedics. Perry even skated over to him as he exited the ice to give him some words of encouragement after the incident. It did not appear there was any malicious intent on the part of the Habs for the injury, but that didn't stop Toronto's Nick Foligno from dropping the gloves with Perry as soon as the two were back on the ice. 

After the game, Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tavares was conscious and communicating well at the hospital but would remain there overnight even as tests came back "clear." 

Without Tavares in the lineup, the Leafs were forced to play without one of the most dynamic two-way centers in the sport—and will likely remain without him for the foreseeable future. 

In 56 regular-season games, the Mississauga, Ontario, native posted 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists)—the third-most on the team behind Mitch Marner (20 goals, 47 assists, 67 points) and Auston Matthews (41 goals, 25 assists, 66 points).