Leafs captain John Tavares leaves hospital; out indefinitely

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Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) is helped onto a stretcher after being injured during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares was discharged from the hospital Friday, one day after leaving the ice on a stretcher following a knee to his head.

Coach Sheldon Keefe said after practice that Tavares had a concussion and will be out indefinitely.

Tavares is under the supervision of team doctors. He said in a statement he is recovering at home and will be cheering for his team while looking forward to his return to the lineup.

He was hurt during a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadians on Thursday night in a first-round playoff opener. Game 2 is Saturday in Toronto.

The 30-year-old center crashed into Montreal’s Ben Chiarot 10:29 into the first period and was hit in the head by Corey Perry’s knee as he fell. Tavares gave a thumbs-up as he was wheeled off the ice.

He was kept overnight at St. Michael’s Hospital, where he was examined by the neurosurgical team and the club’s medical director.

‘Happy to know that everything’s looking on the ups, but definitely a moment where you know your mind races a little bit,” Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza. “You think about his family and then having to watch that. Just seeing your buddy on the ice like that is scary moment.”

Added Montreal forward Eric Staal: “It was scary for everybody. Everybody that was in the building, everybody that was on the ice. You never want to see that.”

Canadiens forward Paul Byron called it a “huge relief” to hear Tavares was out of the hospital.

“It was hard to watch last night, honestly,” he said. “Such a great player, you never want to see that part of the game. It just kind of killed the mood in the rink. It took a little while to get going and I think everyone felt the same way.”

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