Kris Letang Injury: Penguins Defenseman Out Again, But Not With Concussion

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is injured again, but he's listed as day-to-day and a third concussion doesn't seem to be the problem.

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Kris Letang Injury: Penguins Defenseman Out With 'Lower-Body Injury'

Kris Letang has not had good injury luck this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins could again be without their best defenseman down the stretch of the regular season, although the good news this time is that there's no indication he suffered his third concussion of the season. Unless "lower-body injury" somehow indicates a brain issue.

Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma updated Letang's condition on Tuesday after his team's morning skate, in which Letang did not participate. He called the problem a lower-body injury and indicated that Letang's status is listed as day-to-day. He won't play on Tuesday evening as the Penguins host the New York Islanders at CONSOL Energy Center.

Letang has played just 47 of the Penguins' 75 games this season. He missed action for two extended stretches -- one in December, one in March -- with concussion issues.

For more from the Pittsburgh perspective, check in with SB Nation Pittsburgh and Penguins blog Pensburgh.

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Kris Letang To Return For Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday Vs. Rangers

Kris Letang will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, and officially, the team is fully loaded as they attempt to pull within four points of the first-place New York Rangers in the Atlantic Division. The team announced Letang's return Thursday morning.

Letang, the Penguins' best defenseman, has been out of the lineup since Feb. 27 after suffering a hit from Dallas Stars winger Eric Nystrom. He was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms following the hit, and it was the second time he missed action with a head injury this season.

Of course, Thursday also serves as the return for captain Sidney Crosby, who's been out since early December with concussion problems of his own. Crosby has only played a handful of games in the last calendar year-plus, all as part of a failed November comeback attempt from his injury.

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Kris Letang Has Concussion Symptoms; Eric Nystrom Won't Be Suspended For Hit

Yep, just as we all feared, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has concussion-like symptoms following a hit from Eric Nystrom of the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

Losing Letang is huge for the Pens as they look to go deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and if this is Letang's second concussion of the season, there's no saying when he'll be able to return to the lineup. As we've learned with all the various concussion issues around the league over the last few years, a potential return could come next week or next year. Undoubtedly, the Penguins will be extra careful with their star defenseman.

In related news, Nystrom won't be suspended for the hit. Brendan Shanahan, the head of the NHL's Department of Player Safety, passed along the following explanation via Twitter:

Our view is that Letang lunges forward just prior to contact and although it appears that the chin is grazed by the side of Nystrom's arm, the right chest and shoulder of Letang remain the [principal point of contact]. No [supplemental discipline].

That explanation lends itself to the portion of Rule 48, governing illegal hits to the head, that stipulates players should not be at fault for hits when the receiving player puts themselves in a vulnerable position. A wild guess: Stars fans will agree, Penguins fans will not.

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