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Ondrej Pavelec discusses collapse, unaware when he might return

Oct 9, 2010, 9:00 PM EDT

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Thumbnail image for ondrejpavelec1.jpgAfter last night’s scary incident in which Atlanta Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec collapsed early in a game against the Washington Capitals, Joe passed along an update that Pavelec suffered a concussion and is still in the hospital.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Pavelec this evening, who said he had no recollection of actually playing in the Thrashers’ season opener.

“I would like to tell you [what happened],” Pavelec told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview Saturday. “The last thing I remember was the lights going on after the [national] anthem. I don’t remember anything until I woke up in the ambulance and saw the doctor looking at me.”

Pavelec regained consciousness in the ambulance en route to a local hospital. The feeling in his legs returned in the emergency room. He was in stable condition and held for observation Friday after preliminary tests were negative. Pavelec remained in the hospital Saturday night after undergoing a battery of tests during the day. He said his only current symptoms are headaches from a concussion caused when his head hit the ice in the fall.

The 23-year-old said he underwent whole-body MRIs. He will undergo more tests Sunday, but hopes to be released later in the day.

“My heart looks good. My brain looks good. Everything is normal but we still have to find out what it is,” Pavelec said. “You will have to ask the doctors what it is.”

Pavelec does not have a history of health problems. He said he felt “really good” before the game.

The incident reminded some of Jiri Fischer nearly dying due to heart problems a few years ago as a member of the Detroit Red Wings, a moment that made the defenseman detect a heart condition that forced him to retire. This situation is a bit different from that (and hopefully this won’t ended Pavelec’s career), but let there be no doubt that the team and Pavelec need to proceed with extreme caution.

Pavelec said he wasn’t sure when he might be ready to get back on the ice.

Pavelec said he did not know when he would be able to return to the team or if he would make the Thrashers’ West Coast road trip that begins in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday when the team re-called Drew MacIntyre from AHL Chicago to take Pavelec’s place and to back up goaltender Chris Mason.

“He’s awake and alert, but they have to do more tests,” Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said Saturday morning. “We have very little knowledge other than he is awake, alert and seems to be doing much, much better.”

If nothing else, it seems like Pavelec seems (mostly) OK. That’s ultimately what’s most important.

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