Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma gave the news Sunday night that no one in Pittsburgh wanted to hear: Evgeni Malkin has a concussion and short-term memory loss.
“He is feeling fine and his memory is returning,” Bylsma said. “The short-term memory in instances he didn't remember is returning.”
Malkin was injured Friday night on a hard collision into the boards during a win at home over Florida.
Bylsma said Sunday night that Malkin's symptoms are limited specifically to the memory loss.
Multiple sources told Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE that Malkin was also experiencing severe headaches and disorientation Saturday morning.
Malkin did not play Sunday in a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center. He will not play this week on a three-game road trip, Bylsma said.
Several teammates, including captain Sidney Crosby, spoke with Malkin late Saturday afternoon. Malkin described himself then as “feeling better,” Crosby said.
Malkin, as he has in the past with injuries, lobbied the Penguins to play against Tampa Bay, multiple team officials said. He also tried to return early from knee-ligament surgery to play in Game 7 of a 2011 first-round playoff series.
He was injured Friday with 15:09 left in regulation of the Penguins' home win over the Florida Panthers. He didn't finish the game after sliding into the end boards following a hit by Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson. The back of Malkin's head appeared to bounce off the boards, and his neck snapped back in a whiplash-like motion.
Channel 11’s Bill Phillips talked with Dr. Ghassan Bejjani about the different between Malkin’s injury and the one Sidney Crosby sustained.
"There are two ways. One you have the trauma gives you like a linear acceleration/deceleration meaning the head goes straight. You know forward, backward or sideways and you have the rotational injury where the head spins around its axis. Usually if it's rotational it's much worse than if it's linear and that's how Crosby got his injury, it was rotational,” Bejjani said.
Bejjani also said the speed of which Malkin carried into the boards was a factor.
"That does affect it. It's not just the velocity. It's acceleration/deceleration, and at what speed you are going and how fast you decelerating. The G-ratio, the acceleration number is what matters,” Bejjani said.
Bejjani said memory loss could play a role in determining how long Malkin could be out.
"If the loss of memory has been more than 24 hours, it puts him into a new category and that means at least one month with no play. If he has no symptoms now, if he is completely back to baseline meaning no more memory issues, no headaches, no dizziness then he can go back to play in a week,” Bejjani said.
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.