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Wild GM Fletcher concerned about Ballard’s (concussion) recovery


Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard was hospitalized after being hit by the Islanders’ Matt Martin midway through Tuesday’s contest. Although he’s been discharged, Ballard suffered facial fractures and a concussion. Both conditions are serious, but the head injury is particularly troubling given his concussion history. In fact, it’s raised concerns about what the future holds for the 32-year-old.

“This is serious,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told the StarTribune. “He’s had concussions before. I don’t know how many. We’re worried about that. Bones will heal. I don’t mean to make light of it, but his face will heal. But his hand was sticking right up. He was convulsing. This was scary. You could even see the reaction of the Islanders’ bench. They weren’t standing over him mocking him. They were scared.”

Ballard spent three seasons with Vancouver from 2010-11 through 2012-13 and missed time due to a pair of concussions over that stretch. At one point his symptoms were causing him to sleep 18 hours a day. He joined Minnesota after his time with the Canucks and is in the second season of his two-year, $3 million contract.

Thomas Vanek said Ballard is “in good spirits” and was “encouraged” after seeing how well Ballard was doing during his hospital visit.

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