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Kings' Drew Doughty will return, with a mouth guard

Sidelined since Oct. 20, the young defenseman says, 'Concussions are a bad thing.'

November 03, 2010|By Helene Elliott

Defenseman Drew Doughty, scheduled to play Thursday for the first time since he suffered a concussion Oct. 20, said he will start wearing a mouth guard as a precautionary measure against future injuries. Many concussion experts believe mouth guards reduce concussive forces and dissipate or absorb the energy of an upward blow to the jaw.

Doughty, 20, said after practice Wednesday in El Segundo that he previously had some "little minor" concussions that kept him out of a game here or there. He briefly wore a mouth guard last season but wasn't wearing one when he collided with Carolina's Erik Cole.

"I'm not a fan of the mouth guard. I should be," he said. "The team is trying to get me to wear it, so I think I'm going to start wearing one now. … I'm going to have to get used to it real quick here. Concussions are a bad thing."

Doughty said he has felt fine through several hard practices. The Kings were 4-2 during his absence.

"No question you miss your top defenseman," Coach Terry Murray said, "but the great thing about it is we came through it in pretty good shape."

With Doughty available, rookie Jake Muzzin was assigned to Manchester of the American Hockey League.

Scott Parse, who pulled a groin muscle during training camp, is scheduled to make his season debut Thursday on the left side with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. Alexei Ponikarovsky, who sat out Tuesday's practice because of flu, returned Wednesday and is expected to play. Jonathan Quick will start in goal.

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