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Another test for Tampa Bay Lightning Simon Gagne's injured neck

TAMPA — For Lightning LW Simon Gagne, his neck injury remains a mystery.

Gagne, 30, has missed the past eight games while on injured reserve with what has been labeled a neck strain. He has met with several doctors in the past few weeks, including a neurologist, and said Tuesday the good news is that tests still have shown no concussion symptoms.

But Gagne still doesn't know why he has suffered from slight vision and balance issues since getting hit hard into the boards against the Islanders on Oct. 21.

Though Gagne is feeling better, he has been limited to riding a stationary bike, and he doesn't know when he'll get back on the ice.

"It's a situation that is not fun to be a part of," Gagne said. "But the important thing right now is to get healthy and find out what's causing the problem."

Gagne was slated to have a nerve conduction test Tuesday afternoon to make sure the nerves are properly sending out signals from the affected area. Results could come today.

Head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan said Gagne's vision issues are more with focus when he's changing positions or moving from side to side.

"We are trying to pinpoint where it's coming from," Mulligan said. "A lot of times that's the base of your skull. That's where your vision centers are located."

Mulligan said an MRI exam of Gagne's cervical spine, which begins at the base of the skull, showed fluid, but doctors believe it stems from an injury Gagne suffered during his previous 10 seasons with Philadelphia that required an injection, and that scar tissue built up.

"It's not anything new, and we don't think it's causing any of the issues," Mulligan said.

medical matters: As expected, C Dominic Moore (groin) and D Matt Smaby (foot) returned to the lineup Tuesday against the Maple Leafs. But RW Steve Downie was a surprising late scratch, even to coach Guy Boucher.

Downie had played through a back injury the past few games, and Boucher said in the afternoon he expected the wing to play. But Boucher said though Downie wanted to go, it was an organizational decision to sit him and give his back a rest to prevent further injury.

"Instead of having him get worse and eventually losing him for two, three weeks, I think it's important to do it now," Boucher said.

HIGH PRAISE: Leafs coach Ron Wilson said the Lightning has "as dangerous a group of forwards as there is" in the NHL, and a big reason is C Steven Stamkos.

"He's probably got the best shot in hockey right now," Wilson said. "It's an unbelievable release, everybody knows it, and he finds ways to get open. … He's a great skater as well. And he's going to be a star for a long time. He's a fun guy to watch."

MISCELLANY: Tuesday was Military Night at the St. Pete Times Forum, with the Lightning honoring the military in observance of Thursday's Veterans Day.

Another test for Tampa Bay Lightning Simon Gagne's injured neck 11/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 12:10am]
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