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Letang, Michalek are hit with concussions

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By Josh Yohe
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

Montreal team physical Dr. David Mulder, MD, oversaw Penguins defenseman Kris Letang after he absorbed a hit from Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty on Nov. 27 and concluded that, despite a broken nose, Letang was fit to immediately return to the game.

Letang, it turns out, was concussed.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma announced Monday that Letang and defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who were both injured in Montreal, have concussions. The severity of the concussions remains unknown, as does any possible return date. Neither player was active against Boston on Monday.

Bylsma explained that the decision to allow Letang to return — the defenseman scored the game-winning goal in overtime following the hit from Pacioretty, who was subsequently suspended three games for the blow to the head - was out of his hands.

"That's completely by the doctors," Bylsma said. "It's not anything to do with our training staff. We saw Dr. Mulder in Montreal. I think he has the longest tenure in the league. He's well respected. He went and saw Kris, and at that time, Kris didn't have any issues other than they rearranged his nose."

Concussion symptoms do not always immediately occur. When center Sidney Crosby sustained a concussion Jan. 5 against Tampa Bay, he remained in the contest through its duration and did not have a headache until the following morning.

Michalek was also injured in the third period against Montreal. Although it isn't known when either will return, Michalek was not plagued by headaches over the weekend, perhaps an indication that his concussion is less severe.

Letang, who also has a history of migraine headaches, has been dealing with symptoms but the team wasn't initially certain if they were concussion-related.

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