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Penguins

Penguins' Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion

| Sunday, March 29, 2015, 11:54 a.m.
The Coyotes' Shane Doan (center) looks on as Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is helped off the ice after Doan knocked Letang into the boards in the second period Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
The Coyotes' Shane Doan (center) looks on as Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is helped off the ice after Doan knocked Letang into the boards in the second period Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang rests against the boards after being tripped into the boards by the Coyotes' Shane Doan during the second period Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang rests against the boards after being tripped into the boards by the Coyotes' Shane Doan during the second period Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Consol Energy Center.

Defenseman Kris Letang was released from the hospital Sunday.

Letang, who has been diagnosed with a concussion, spent Saturday evening under medical supervision after absorbing a hit from Arizona's Shane Doan on Saturday at Consol Energy Center.

“We'll take it as a day-to-day thing, see how he reacts and recovers from it,” coach Mike Johnston said.

This is at least the fourth time during Letang's career that he has had a concussion. Letang has dealt with migraine headaches for most of his life and had a stroke Jan. 29, 2014.

The Penguins, who are always especially cautious with Letang because of his medical history, have not released a timetable for a possible return. Although Johnston announced Letang is considered “day-to-day,” a Penguins official clarified later Sunday that the team remains unsure of a timetable for Letang's return.

There isn't optimism nor pessimism regarding Letang's availability for the postseason, which begins April 15.

Concussions are unpredictable, as the Penguins have learned in recent seasons, and determining when Letang might be able to come back was impossible 24 hours after the incident, Johnston said.

“We'll see how he feels over the next couple of days and go from there,” Johnston said.

The back of Letang's head violently snapped into the boards behind the Penguins' net in the second period. He remained on the ice and, after receiving attention from Penguins doctors, looked disoriented as he skated slowly — with help from teammates Steve Downie and Rob Scuderi — to the locker room.

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Sunday that it found Doan's hit to be clean, and as a result, he will not face league discipline.

Letang is having a Norris Trophy-caliber season. He has 54 points in 69 games while routinely playing against the opposition's best players.

“He's a premier player in this league,” Johnston said.

The Penguins played against San Jose on Sunday night without the services of three of their top four defensemen to begin the season. Olli Maatta is out for the season, and Christian Ehrhoff is out for at least another week — and likely longer — with an upper-body injury.

Letang missed six games earlier this season, one because of a head injury on a hit by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo.

“Hopefully, we get him back in the lineup as soon as possible,” defenseman Derrick Pouliot said. “He's a big, big part of this team.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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