Marc Savard returned to the scene of the crime on Tuesday. But this time he got much better news out of his visit to Pittsburgh.
More than eight months after suffering a severe concussion on a vicious blindside hit by Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke, Savard was back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for further testing and cleared another major hurdle in his road to recovery from post-concussion syndrome symptoms.
On Tuesday, Savard passed the final neuro-psych tests needed to be cleared to participate fully in practice with the club. Savard had rejoined the team in practice on Saturday, but was limited to non-contact drills.
With these latest test results, Savard will now be cleared for contact. There is still no timetable set for his return to game action, but Tuesday's news is certainly a step in the right direction.
Savard has been sidelined since the start of camp after symptoms, including headaches and depression, returned over the summer. Savard was initially injured on Cooke's cheap shot back on March 7. He returned for the second round of the playoffs in May, but the symptoms returned in the offseason and have kept him sidelined since.
In a statement, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced the results of the testing.
"Today Marc passed the tests administered by Dr. Micky Collins from the Sports Medicine department at UPMC, and is now cleared for contact," said Chiarelli in the release. "Marc will rejoin the team tomorrow for morning skate in Florida. There is no timetable at this time for Marc to start playing games."
Savard skated with the club in their morning skate before Saturday's game against Los Angeles on Saturday and for Monday's game in Tampa Bay before leaving for Pittsburgh. He'll now join the team again on Wednesday for their morning skate prior to taking on the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida.
Savard will still need time to get his conditioning back to the level necessary to play in the NHL and get back to game speed after missing all of camp and the first two months of the season. And after his setback this summer, the Bruins certainly won't rush his return and risk any further relapses.
Chiarelli also needs to make moves to clear the cap space needed to activate Savard off of long-term injured reserve. But while there are still plenty of steps left to take before Savard is all the way back, Tuesday's news is the most encouraging sign yet that the injured playmaker's long road to recovery is finally coming close to an end.