CHICAGO (AP)Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews announced Sunday that he is dealing with symptoms of long COVID-19 and chronic immune response syndrome.
Toews hasn’t played since Jan. 28. The Blackhawks placed the 34-year-old center on injured reserve on Wednesday with what they said was a non-COVID-19-related illness.
”It has been really challenging to play through these symptoms,” Toews said in a statement released by the team. ”In the last few weeks, it has reached the point where I had no choice but to step back and concentrate on getting healthy. I am thankful for the patience and support of my teammates, the coaching staff, and the entire Blackhawks organization.”
Toews missed the 2020-21 season with what he described as chronic immune response syndrome.
Toews has spent his entire career with Chicago, winning three Stanley Cup titles. But he is eligible for free agency after this season.
”We’re going to work with him and support him in whatever he needs to make sure he’s feeling good and feeling strong and in a spot where he can come back on the ice,” general manager Kyle Davidson said. ”We’ll take it day by day, but the hope is that he can still play some games here down the stretch.”
Asked about moving Toews by the March 3 trade deadline, Davidson said he isn’t thinking about that.
”We’re trying to help him get back to full strength and that’s totally secondary,” he said.
Toews had 12 goals and 25 assists in 71 games when he returned to action last year, and he had looked stronger this season. He has 14 goals and 14 assists in 46 games for the last-place Blackhawks.
”We feel for him and just supporting him right now,” coach Luke Richardson said. ”He was back this week, first steps of getting back and working out and skating, and unfortunately he wasn’t getting the results that he wanted.”
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