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Justin Bailey awaits 'Return to Play' protocol

by Mike G. Morreale

While forward Justin Bailey of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers still is experiencing concussion-like symptoms from a hit he sustained last month, the team anticipates a full recovery at some point.

"Generally, Justin is feeling better," Kitchener's head trainer, Dan LeBold, told via email. "However, he is still experiencing some symptoms so we have not begun the 'Return to Play' protocol as of yet. We are continuing to monitor his symptoms to see when he may be ready to begin the RTP protocol."

Bailey was on the receiving end of tremendous neutral-zone hit by Calgary Flames prospect Pat Sieloff of the Windsor Spitfires on Sept. 27. Sieloff was given a charging penalty and a game misconduct on the play.

In three games this season for Kitchener, his first in the OHL, Bailey has no points and four penalty minutes. He was rated as an A skater on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list.

"The current plans for the hockey club and for Justin are to play again," LeBold said.  

The injury forced the 6-foot-3.25, 194-pound native of Williamsville, N.Y., to miss the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game played near his home at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Sept. 28.

In 2011-12, Bailey helped lead the Long Island Royals to the Under-16 Tier I national championship. That team was coached by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine.

"He's got tremendous quickness and speed to go along with that size," LaFontaine told "He'll continue to fill out as a player, but his puck control and release are something … he's got a big-time shot already."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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