Rangers' Zuccarello suffered brain contusion: 'I couldn't say a word for four days'

Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

Mats Zuccarello is recovering from a serious head injury suffered during the New York Rangers' first-round series.

The forward suffered a brain contusion in New York's Game 5 victory over the Penguins, the Rangers announced Monday. The injury has not completely healed, but a full recovery is expected.

Zuccarello was struck in the side of the head by a shot off the stick of teammate Ryan McDonagh.

The Rangers eliminated the Penguins in five games, and Zuccarello was then ruled out of the entire second-round series against the Washington Capitals with a suspected concussion. He did not play again in the postseason.

The details of Zuccarello's ailment were more serious than initially thought.

"There was a small fracture in my head," he told reporters. "I lost my talking and some feeling in my arm and stuff. I was in the hospital for three days.

"I couldn't talk for a while. I had a contusion, some blood in my brain. That affects a lot. I went to speech therapy. I'm getting much better. I couldn't say a word for four days ... I feel much better and I'm getting better and better."

Zuccarello said there was a slim chance he could have returned to action had the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

"There was a small chance I might play more this year, but probably not," he said. "There's no reason to speculate now. In the beginning I couldn't talk. It was scary. But the doctors were really good and made sure I knew I'd be healthy. I was just happy to recover quickly."

The Rangers also revealed Monday that McDonagh had a fractured foot, Dan Girardi dealt with an MCL sprain, and Marc Staal suffered a hairline fracture of his ankle in the regular season.

Rangers' Zuccarello suffered brain contusion: 'I couldn't say a word for four days'
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