Ondrej Pavelec started breaking in a new chest protector Tuesday.
His old one was cut off at the hospital 11 days ago when he lost consciousness and collapsed minutes into the Thrashers season opener.
“I was so excited to go back [on the ice] and see how it would go,” Pavelec said after taking part in half a team practice. “It was pretty good. It was only 30 minutes but I felt good.”
After a battery of tests, over days, doctors concluded that Pavelec fainted and subsequently hit his head on the ice. The goaltender said Tuesday that doctors have not determined the cause of the fainting spell.
“They did all testing for my brain and my heart,” Pavelec said. “They said I just fainted. It’s nothing serious and hopefully it will never happen again. They said I’m ready to go. I need some practice to get into game shape. This was the first time. Hopefully the last time.
“They said there are so many reasons it could have happened but they couldn’t find it. A lot of times it will never happen again. Hopefully, it never happens again.”
There is no timetable for Pavelec to return. Tuesday was about getting him on the ice and facing some goaltending duties.
“I’m medically cleared right now, but it will take time to get into game shape. They didn’t say when I’m going to be back. Hopefully as soon as possible. I need a couple more practices.”
Pavelec said he did not expect to be ready for either of the team’s upcoming two games – Wednesday against Buffalo and Friday against Tampa Bay. Coach Craig Ramsay said he did not anticipate that Pavelec would need a rehab start at AHL Chicago.
Pavelec, who suffered headaches from the concussion caused by the fall to the ice, said they are gone now after three or four days. He underwent a final neuro-psych test two hours before Tuesday’s practice and expected the results later in the day.
“I’m sick of it,” Pavelec said of all the testing. “I don’t want to see the hospital again.”