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Kris Letang gets to decide if and when he plays again

Sean Leahy
Puck Daddy
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It's been just over a week since Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang rejoined his teammates at practice after suffering a stroke on Jan. 29. After finishing a blood-thinner treatment and being further evaluated by doctors, he's been cleared to play again; but the decision on when he returns to the lineup is now solely with him.

From the Tribune-Review:

“It's going to be my call,” he said. “It's all about when I feel ready.”

Letang, 26, said he will “still have to meet with the doctors” — as a precautionary checkup — before entering game action but said he will play when he feels comfortable.

Although Letang has been skating hard in daily practices with the team, he said he is not sure when he would return.

“It's not a case of your shoulder or something like that,” he said. “When I'm ready, I'm ready.”

Letang spoke last month for the first time since his stroke and said he wasn't sure when he'd be able to play again. He told the Tribune-Review that he feels "back to normal" and hasn't experienced any ill-effects while practicing. 

The Penguins could certainly use Letang on defense given their post-Olympic break woes that have seen them post a 6-6-2 record. After Tuesday night's loss to the Phoenix, there was a players-only meeting and afterward a lack of passion and pride was brought up by Rob Scuderi and Matt Niskanen. 

They may look pretty atop the Metropolitan Division with 97 points and comfortably in the Eastern Conference's no. 2 seed as the playoffs approach, but given their injuries this season and lack of scoring depth, would it surprise you if the Penguins got picked off in Round 1?

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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