Paul Ranger Injury: Updates on Maple Leafs Defenseman's Status and Return

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIMarch 19, 2014

TORONTO , ON - JANUARY 30: Paul Ranger #15 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during warmup against the Florida Panthers during NHL game action January 30, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
Graig Abel/Getty Images

Updates from Friday, March 21

Chris Johnston of Rodgers Sportsnet has the latest on Ranger:

David Alter of 590 AM The Fan has more on the defenseman:

Updates from Thursday, March 20

Darren Dreger of TSN has the latest on Ranger's status:

Meanwhile, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports that Lightning center Alex Killorn won't face more punishment from the league

David Pagnotta of has more on Ranger's status:

Original Text

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Paul Ranger exited Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning after he was checked hard into the boards in the first period.   

It was initially unclear exactly what type of injury Ranger sustained from the hit laid on by Lightning center Alex Killorn, but David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail reported that Ranger was wheeled off on a stretcher:

The team's PR account later provided an update:

Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos added an update:

CBS Sports' Eye on Hockey provided video of the disturbing development that saw Ranger lie motionless on the Air Canada Centre ice afterwards, per's Brian Stubits (Warning: Video may not be suitable for all viewers):

Tony Monaco of 103.5 Toronto didn't believe there was anything particularly malicious about the hit, yet he did express concern about the end result of the collision:

Hockey is such a physical and tough sport, and in the NHL the impact of heavy hits are exacerbated. However, this was a bit of an extreme lick from Killorn in a situation that didn't warrant such a brutal, violent thrust forward.

Ranger actually played in Tampa Bay for a little over four seasons before taking a hiatus from professional hockey after playing just eight games in the 2009-10 campaign.

This is his first year back in the NHL, and Ranger has been a solid contributor for the Maple Leafs, notching four goals and eight assists for 12 points. Toronto is in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, so losing any core contributors for extended time at this point would be difficult to endure.

But in a situation like this, team circumstances have to be put aside and the personal safety of Ranger has to be the main focus. It was a dangerous collision that could have severe consequences. The hope is that Ranger makes a quick and speedy recovery and that he can continue his impressive return to hockey in Toronto.