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Doughty cleared, will be in Kings' lineup Thursday

by Dan Rosen / NHL.com
Drew Doughty has been cleared by the Kings' medical personnel and will be in the lineup Thursday when L.A. takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Staples Center. Doughty, a Norris Trophy finalist last season, suffered a concussion when he collided with Carolina wing Erik Cole on Oct. 20 and has missed the last six games.

"I've been feeling good for a little while now. It was just making sure I was perfectly ready to play," Doughty told reporters. "You don't want to mess around with stuff like that. Now that I've been good for a number of days I'm really looking forward to playing (Thursday). I'm feeling good. I feel great, 100 percent, back to normal."

Doughty isn't planning to mess around on the ice either. He told reporters Wednesday in El Segundo, Calif., that he'll be wearing a mouthguard as a precautionary measure when he takes the ice Thursday night.

It has been noted by dentists and some concussion experts that mouthguards can help reduce the chances of getting a concussion from a hard hit because they reduce the force of the hit and absorb the energy of a blow to the jaw, according to Sports Dentistry Online.

"Mouthguard materials by nature must have shock absorption qualities," it reads on the Sports Dentistry website. "They must be resilient and yet soft enough to absorb impact energy and reduce transmitted forces. The thickness of mouthguard material is directly related to energy absorption and inversely related to transmitted forces when impacted. However, wearer comfort is also an important factor in their use."

According to the Los Angeles Times, Doughty said he's "not a fan of the mouthguard," but he will start wearing one to hopefully prevent or limit the chances of future concussions.

"I got my teeth knocked out last year and now this, so I might try a mouthguard," he said. "I had to wear one for a couple weeks last year and all I did was chew on it. I'm going to have to get used to it real quick here. Concussions are a bad thing. I'm going to need to figure that out."

Doughty will be paired with Willie Mitchell against the Lightning. The Kings were 4-2-0 without him.

"No question you miss your top defenseman, but the great thing about it is we came through it in pretty good shape," coach Terry Murray told the Times. "It shows a lot of character on the team. Guys stepped up and played very well in the games he was out."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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