The Maple Leafs suffered a big blow Thursday night when star center John Tavares went down with an apparent head injury against the Canadiens.
Tavares suffered the injury in the first period when he took an accidental knee to the head from Montreal’s Corey Perry while falling to the ice. The Leafs captain struggled to move and had to be stretchered off the ice in a scary-looking scene. He was taken to a local hospital and kept overnight for evaluation.
It’s abundantly clear that Tavares will have to miss time as a result of the injury. The question is how much. And will he be able to return at any point during the postseason?
Here are all the details about Tavares’ injury, including the latest updates on his overall condition and when he might be able to return to the ice.
How long will John Tavares be out?
At this point, Tavares’ timetable for return is uncertain. Toronto GM Kyle Dubas said Tavares also sustained a knee injury during the collision and would miss a minimum of two weeks for the knee to recover. Whether his consussion symptoms will have subsided by then remains to be seen.
The Maple Leafs released a statement on Friday morning that confirmed Tavares had been discharged from the hospital but would be “out indefinitely” as a result of the injury.
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has been discharged from the hospital this morning. He was thoroughly examined and assessed by the neurological team at St. Michael’s Hospital and the club’s medical director. He was kept overnight for observation and is now resting at home under the care and supervision of team physicians. Tavares will be out indefinitely.
That obviously doesn’t give fans a full timetable for his potential return, but it does sound like Tavares is in danger of missing a significant amount of time.
What is John Tavares’ injury?
As expected, Tavares has been diagnosed with a concussion. Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed as much Friday afternoon. Tavares also sustained a knee injury during the collision and will miss a minimum of two weeks for the knee to recover.
John Tavares has been cleared of all structural damage to his head, neck and spine, according to Kyle Dubas.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 22, 2021
Head injuries, in general, are tricky and vary greatly from person to person. This could keep Tavares out long-term, and at the very least he’ll need to complete the NHL’s concussion protocol before being allowed to skate again.
John Tavares injury timeline
On May 20, Tavares took a knee to the head from Corey Perry in a freak accident in the neutral zone. Tavares was hit cleanly by Ben Chariot and spilled to the ice with Perry coming into the zone. Perry tried to avoid him but ended up kneeing him in the head.
Tavares tried to get up, but the training staff stopped him and ultimately stretchered him off the ice.
“It was horrible. Life comes into play at that point and seeing how he was in pain, it made you sick to your stomach,” said Nick Foligno, Tavares’ teammate.
Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe spoke on Tavares’ condition after the game.
“He’s conscious and he’s communicating well,” Keefe said. “The tests that he’s had so far came back clear. He’s gonna remain overnight in the hospital to undergo further tests.”
On May 21, Tavares was released from the hospital and returned home, under the care of Maple Leafs physicians. Later that day, he released a statement via Twitter to indicate that he was doing OK and to thank the medical teams that took care of him.
John Tavares injury updates
— May 27: Tavares returned to the ice for practice, as captured by TSN’s Kristen Shilton. He logged about 20 minutes of action, and that’s a good sign that his return may not be as far off as it initially looked when he first got hurt.
— May 25: Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said that Tavares visited the practice facility today and is “reacclimating himself with the group.” He’s still set to be out at least another week with the knee injury and it’s unclear where he is in the NHL’s concussion protocol.
— May 22: Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas says Tavares did not suffer structural damage to his head neck and spine. A knee injury incurred during the collision would take a minimum of two weeks to heal.
— May 21: Toronto releases a statement declaring Tavares “out indefinitely” but confirms that he has returned from the hospital. Coach Sheldon Keefe confirms that Tavares is dealing with a concussion.
— May 20: Tavares is stretchered off the ice against the Canadiens with a head injury. He is hospitalized overnight but is “conscious” and “communicating well.”