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Penguins' Letang fully recovered from hip injury

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Kris Letang in April 2011 at Consol Energy Center.

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By Josh Yohe
Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, 8:04 p.m.
 

Kris Letang's hair is a little shorter, but otherwise, the star defenseman looked like himself Monday at Southpointe.

This serves as a welcome relief to the Penguins despite the 2012-13 season being in jeopardy because of the NHL lockout.

Letang injured his hip late last season and acknowledged that it had become a problem during the Stanley Cup playoffs. But Letang never thought surgery was necessary.

“It's good now,” Letang said. “I talked with doctors after the season. They told me to let me know how it felt during (summer) training. It feels good.”

Following the Penguins' six-game series loss to Philadelphia in April, Letang admitted he had been playing with a sore hip. At the time, he didn't feel surgery was necessary but also acknowledged being uncertain heading into the summer.

In what had the look of a Norris Trophy campaign early on, Letang was plagued by injuries last season. He suffered two concussions — the first Nov. 26 in Montreal and another March 1 in Dallas — forcing him to miss 31 games.

He finished the regular season with 10 goals and 42 points in 51 games. Despite playing in pain, Letang recorded five points in six games against the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.

Letang, who's known for working out extensively during the off-season, had to alter his approach.

The rest was all Letang required for his hip ailment to improve. He skated fluidly around a dozen of his teammates during Monday's informal workout.

Like center Sidney Crosby, Letang is open to playing in Europe if the lockout persists. He'll be healthy enough to do so.

“Just skated a little bit later than usual this summer,” he said. “But it does feel really good now.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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