Pittsburgh Penguins top defenseman Kris Letang has cleared COVID protocol and could rejoin the team as early as Wednesday. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed the symptomatic Letang had cleared and would proceed to the next steps to return to the lineup.
Letang was symptomatic and did not automatically clear.
Sullivan said Letang will undergo cardio tests on Monday. Should he pass, he could be back with the team on Wednesday. However, the formerly immuno-compromised Letang must pass those tests first. Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese suffered symptoms and was away from the team for 20 days.
“Everybody’s a little bit different. I don’t know that we can put all of the symptomatic guys in the same bubble,” Sullivan said. “Asymptomatic guys can work out, ride the back, and exercise through the process. I think that really helps them.”
Moments after Sullivan spoke, the Penguins PR confirmed Letang was on the ice.
PHN was one of two outlets to get video (below).
Letang’s past health issues are important to note. In 2014, Letang suffered a stroke and doctors discovered a small heart defect. The defenseman had a small hole in the wall of his heart since birth, which is called a patent foramen ovale (PFO).
COVID, even for the vaccinated, can attack the heart and respiratory system. Fortunately, the vaccines essentially prevent fatal occurrences. According to statistics published in Popular Science, less than 8,000 vaccinated individuals have died, and most of those cases were immuno-compromised or high-risk individuals.
Kris Letang worked out with assistant coach Todd Reirden after practice. You can view the clip on National Hockey Now’s YouTube page. Video may be used, but please credit Pittsburgh Hockey Now.