| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Defenseman Letang close to returning with Penguins

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.
By Josh Yohe
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

Defenseman Kris Letang could be back in the Penguins' lineup sooner than expected.

General manager Ray Shero confirmed Monday that Letang has been cleared for contact and game action.

Letang will not play Tuesday night when the Penguins host Carolina, but he could be back within the next week. He will skate with the Penguins during their morning skate Tuesday.

"Once he feels ready," Shero said, "he'll play. He's been cleared for practice. Kris is doing really well."

The defenseman has not played since absorbing a hit from Montreal's Max Pacioretty on Nov. 26. Letang, whose nose was broken by the hit, returned in that game and scored the game-winner in overtime. He was diagnosed with a concussion a week later.

Pacioretty was suspended three games for violating Rule 48, which prohibits direct contact to a player's head.

"We're all looking forward to having him back," Shero said. "He's grown into one of the really good, young defensemen in our game. We have missed him very much."

Letang had 19 points in 22 games before being injured.

Although the Penguins have almost a week off during the all-star break later this month, Shero said the team will not force Letang to wait until after the break, even though it would give him a few more days to prepare for his return.

"The break isn't that long anyway," Shero said. "He's cleared to play, so we're going to have him out there when he feels like he can go, whenever that is."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Police officer fatally shot in New Florence; suspect in custody
  2. Four downs: Steelers might still be Adams’ best bet
  3. Steelers find success vs. NFC
  4. Steelers notebook: Brown downplays possible matchup against Seahawks’ Sherman
  5. Offense continues to click as Panthers hold off Kent State, 85-76
  6. Zatkoff’s, Malkin’s heroics not enough as Oilers down Penguins in shootout
  7. As historic breakup nears, Alcoa works to redefine its ‘advantage’
  8. Thomas Jefferson uses defense, running game to capture WPIAL title
  9. Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
  10. Central Catholic wins 5th WPIAL football title
  11. Aliquippa wins 16th WPIAL title, ends South Fayette’s 44-game winning streak