SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Buffalo Sabres will visit the Florida Panthers on Thursday without Steve Montador, with sources telling The News he is suffering from concussion-like symptoms. The defenseman was injured during Saturday's game against Toronto on a second-period hit by Jay Rosehill. He finished the game but has since failed a neuro-psych test, The News has learned.
Montador and coach Lindy Ruff would say only that the defenseman has an upper-body injury. Ruff acknowledged that Montador is not allowed to do any off-ice workouts, which fits the standard concussion rehab protocol.
Montador watched the Sabres practice in BankAtlantic Center and afterward said he felt "better."
"Daily, it’s just been progressing as we wanted it to," he said. "I took a pretty hard hit in the second period and managed to continue to play. With the intensity of the game and wanting to contribute and all those factors, I just stayed in. I finished the game, but given the circumstances we wanted to take a little bit of time to allow everything to be where we need it to be to move forward.
"I suspected there was something right away, but it was more just making a conscious decision of how to move forward talking to the medical staff and the coaches and everything."
Montador talked with the team doctor this morning and planned to chat again later in the day.
"We might move forward tomorrow with a workout and a bike ride, which is encouraging for me," said Montador, who missed Tuesday's 7-4 victory in Tampa Bay. "Watching these guys sweating and having fun, it’s hard to just sit here and not participate."
Right wing Patrick Kaleta, who hasn't played since Jan. 21 because of a left hand injury, practiced again but may be kept out of the lineup Thursday by Ruff.
"We haven’t made that decision," Ruff said. "He’s doing a lot better. I like the way the team has responded these last couple of games and played and won. That factors into it. It also factors in that we give him the opportunity to get a little more time, too."