Hurricanes’ Hamilton ‘unfit to play’ day after exit


RALEIGH, N.C. — Carolina Hurricanes All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton didn’t practice Thursday and his status is unclear as the team prepares for the NHL’s return to play next week.

The team’s website reported Wednesday that Hamilton left that day’s practice early “in some visible discomfort.” Asked about Hamilton not practicing Thursday, coach Rod Brind’Amour said only that Hamilton is “unfit to play at this moment” and offered no specifics, as the league has prohibited teams from disclosing whether a player is injured or ill.

Hamilton went down with a broken left leg in January that sidelined him until the NHL suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he had returned for the beginning of training camp.

Hamilton had 14 goals and 26 assists in 47 regular-season games. With Hamilton injured alongside fellow defenseman Brett Pesce, the Hurricanes acquired defensemen Sami Vatanen from New Jersey and Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers at the February trade deadline.

“He’s a huge part of the offense, of our team,” Brind’Amour said. “So, obviously, we’re hoping that this isn’t something that’s long term.”

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