Some bombshell news, as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has said that he's been cleared by physicians to resume playing, and now it's a matter of when he feels ready.
"It's going to be my call," Letang told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It's all about when I feel ready."
Returning from a stroke, however, is much different than another more common injury that professional hockey players have to deal with. Letang is in uncharted waters really, and it's no question that he will have to be careful and confident upon his return to the NHL.
"It's not a case of your shoulder or something like that," he said. "When I'm ready, I'm ready."
But, luckily, Letang has shown a lot of improvement. He's been practicing with the team since March 17th, and according to all reports, looks great out there, flying up and down the ice just as when the speedy defenseman is healthy.
"I was so concerned that I wouldn't play again this year," Letang said. "But when I had the green light, I felt fine. The first few days (of practice) were tough. But I'm good now."
Letang had a stroke on January 29th, but it wasn't diagnosed until later in the week, due to the odd symptoms and the fact that 26 year old men that are in tremendous athletic shape aren't usually having strokes.
The Penguins have been very supportive in the past for players who have had concussions (hello Sidney Crosby) and other odd injuries to ease back into the lineup when they feel comfortable and 100%. They will give Letang all the time he needs and first worry about Kris Letang the person, father, husband.
The NHL playoffs begin three weeks from today. Knowing that Letang has been cleared by physicians and is skating with the team, as of now and barring any unforeseen setbacks, it seems like a good bet that the 2013 Norris trophy finalist will be back in the lineup. For the Pens and Pens fans, that's great news in more ways than just one.