Kings’ Jarret Stoll making slow progress in concussion recovery

Kings center Jarret Stoll celebrates after scoring a goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during a regular-season game earlier this season.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

SAN JOSE -- Kings center Jarret Stoll, who sustained a concussion on a hit from San Jose Sharks winger Raffi Torres in Game 1 of the teams’ Western Conference semifinal playoff series, said Sunday he feels good and will continue to be active as long as he has no recurrence of headaches or other symptoms. He said he has no timetable for his return.

“Push it more and more every day, without setbacks. You have a setback, you have to start over again,” he said in his first public comments since the incident. “Just take it slow.”

Stoll skated during an optional practice Sunday morning at HP Pavilion with three other players who won’t play in the Kings’ potential series-clincher Sunday night. He has been skating for three days but hasn’t been allowed to absorb contact.


“It’s fine. Obviously, I’m skating so there’s no setbacks,” he said. “I’m taking it slow. I’ve done this before, earlier on in my career, so I know how it feels and what’s right and what’s not, if I’m off or back to normal or not. So just day by day.”

Stoll suffered two concussions during the 2006-07 season while playing for the Edmonton Oilers, including one that kept him out of the team’s final 30 games. He said the problems resulting from this concussion were “not even close” to the severity of the symptoms he faced six years ago.

More valuable than the job description of “third-line center” would suggest, Stoll is a premier penalty killer and faceoff specialist and is among the Kings’ locker-room leaders. Torres was suspended by the NHL for the remainder of the series.

The Kings have had to reconfigure their lineup without Stoll, but they have a 3-2 series lead and are in position to close out this playoff series Sunday night. A seventh game, if necessary, would be played on Tuesday at Staples Center.

Stoll said it took him “a good seven or eight days” to get rid of the headaches that plagued him after the incident. He also said Torres reached out to him afterward, though Stoll declined to specify what they said. Stoll and Torres were teammates in Edmonton and Stoll was in Torres’ wedding party.

Stoll didn’t seem to carry a grudge toward his old friend.

“It’s a game. You play the game, there’s hitting and physical play involved. You take that chance,” Stoll said.


“It was a hockey play and a hit that did what it did. It’s over now. I’m just happy about Game 6 and watching and supporting the guys.”

But he said it was difficult for him to be a spectator instead of a participant.

“It’s tough to sit on the couch and watch. It’s always tough to watch. You want to always be on the ice--that’s just how we are,” he said. “Hopefully it’s coming to an end and things are looking better.”


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