Leafs centre Matthew Lombardi has been declared free of concussion symptoms, but might still miss the start of training camp, says GM Brian Burke.
“He is cleared for full activity on the bike,” Burke said in a phone interview. “The last report I got he was doing 20-plus minutes without symptoms. He has been declared symptom-free and now it’s about getting the workload back up.”
The Leafs knew full well when they acquired him and defenceman Cody Franson from Nashville that Lombardi had a concussion. He played only two games last season and the Leafs are hoping the centre can return to form, but won’t rush him.
With concussions, teams know there are no guarantees. Penguins star Sidney Crosby had advanced further than Lombardi — skating at about 90 per cent — but recently is reported to have suffered a setback.
“I don’t believe he will be there for the first day of training camp,” said Burke. “He may, but it’s not clear he will. But we’re very pleased with his progress.”
A healthy Lombardi would give the Leafs plenty of speed at centre, a position where the team now has some depth with free agent Tim Connolly, Mikhail Grabovski and Tyler Bozak, plus prospects Joe Colborne and Nazem Kadri.