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Letang skates for first time since late November

by Alan Robinson
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang skated Friday for the first time since sustaining a concussion and breaking his nose Nov. 26 in Montreal.
Coach Dan Bylsma called it a sign of progress for Letang, but it is uncertain when Letang will return to practice -- the next step he must take before he can return to game action.
Letang was injured while absorbing a hard hit from the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty, who subsequently drew a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head. Letang was checked over by a doctor and was allowed to return to play, and he scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
After initially passing a concussion test, Letang was diagnosed with a concussion and he has not played since. Like teammate Sidney Crosby, who last played on Dec. 5, Letang has been limited to light conditioning work off the ice.
"He is doing pretty well right now," Bylsma said. "He's had light exercises and is on the road to rehab and recovery. In terms of concussions and treating them, everyone is different. Players' symptoms are different. We've treated each player with uniqueness. Kris has had some good days."
Before he was hurt, Letang was off to a strong start with 3 goals and 16 assists in 22 games. His ability to generate offense despite not being on the power-play unit with Crosby was a contrast to last season when, after an equally effective start, Letang's scoring dropped off significantly after Crosby sustained a concussion at midseason.
Crosby, who has been limited to eight games in the last year, still has not resumed skating. The Penguins haven't updated his condition since 10 days ago, when Bylsma confirmed he was having concussion-related symptoms.
Crosby missed the second half of last season and the first 20 games of this season before returning with a two-goal, two-assist performance against the New York Islanders on Nov. 21. Crosby had 2 goals and 10 assists while playing in eight consecutive games, but the concussion symptoms returned following a 3-1 loss to Boston on Dec. 5. Crosby has not been on the ice since then.
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