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Head Injury Puts Kings' Granato Into the Hospital

January 31, 1996|LISA DILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

King forward Tony Granato, suffering from severe headaches, entered a local hospital early Monday morning and will remain there for at least a few more days.

Granato said he had swelling and bleeding of the brain, but the precise nature of his injury--apparently triggered by a hard hit in Thursday night's game at Hartford, Conn.--remained unclear on Tuesday. Michael Mellman, one of the Kings' physicians, said through an assistant he was "not offering a statement at this time." The Kings said Granato was suffering from "post-traumatic headaches."

It is not knows how long Granato will be out.

Granato said Tuesday that he has seen two neurologists during his stay at Centinela Hospital Medical Center and said his situation is improving. At one point, Granato said he thought there was a chance he would need surgery, but the pain and swelling subsided.

"I'm doing better than I was--I'm going to have to take it easy for a while," said Granato, who also had a CT scan. "It's weird. I just thought I had a headache. I didn't think it was anything else."

After the game at Hartford, Granato appeared fine, conducting interviews and talking with his friend Kevin Stevens, whom the Kings had traded for earlier in the day. Granato practiced Friday, but by Saturday's noon game against the Mighty Ducks, Granato was suffering from headaches, but played the game.

Granato attended a Super Bowl party at Wayne Gretzky's house Sunday, still suffering from headaches. Late Sunday night, he awoke in severe pain and checked himself into the hospital.

"There was a chance of [surgery] happening," he said. "Yesterday, they did the tests and thought they might have to operate. It was a bad day."

Granato, 31, was visited in the hospital by a handful of King players on Tuesday. Previously, he suffered a concussion in his rookie season, in 1988-89 with the Rangers, after a hard hit from Toronto's Luke Richardson.

"It was a real bad concussion," said Granato, who has 17 goals and 35 points this season. "I lied a little bit and said, 'I'm OK, I'm fine.' I had problems for a few weeks where I didn't feel that good."

King Notes

Left wing Kevin Stevens (back spasms) did not practice Tuesday and is questionable for tonight's game against the Hartford Whalers, according to the team. He skated for a few minutes on Monday and had a bone scan and an MRI exam later in the day. All tests were negative, the Kings said. Also, defenseman Sean O'Donnell (sprained ligament in left wrist) was put on injured reserve and his status is week to week. Rookie defenseman Aki Berg (fractured left toe) will not play tonight.

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