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Kris Letang speaks about his stroke

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The Penguins defenseman continues his road to recovery from a stroke last month.

Bruce Bennett

"It's tough to believe. I'm in the .01 percentage. When I found out, I didn't believe it. I didn't even understand the word [stroke]. I had to call my wife and ask her what it was. She went to school in English."

That's how Kris Letang talked about his stroke today, in his first media availability since he suffered the stroke last month. It's been a scary experience and difficult turn of events for, ironically, one of the best conditioned athletes in the world, whose fitness level has been bandied about for years.

"They said that being 26 [years old] and having a stroke, it's such a small percentage of people," Letang said. "The chances that I get back to normal are really good. They kind of reassured me that I will play again."

That sounds a lot different than the earlier update, when Letang, who is on blood thinners, would be re-evaluated after six weeks to see where he is and what his status could be. Letang said today that surgery won't be necessary for a very small hole in his heart and he's not expecting to have any long-term health effects from this issue.

"Honestly, if I have the chance to come back this year, it's going to be great," a hopeful Letang said.

Let's hope he gets that chance.