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Lilja suffered from concussion-like symp-toms that he described as annoying, nag-ging, and that made him woozy. He didn’texperience headaches with his previoustwo minor concussions. However, Liljabelieved he would return to the ice in acouple of weeks. Two weeks following theinjury, the Swede remained hopeful abouthis return to the ice.Unfortunately, Lilja’s headaches re-mained, forcing the Wings to place theeight-year NHL veteran on long-term in- jured reserve on March 10. Even though hecouldn’t contribute on the ice, the Swedishdefenseman – who had signed a two-yearcontract extension in 2008 – remained anessential member of the organization, evenlending his time for numerous live chatsessions on the team’s ofﬁcial Web site.But by late December, Lilja experiencedmore good days than bad. He typically would going 2-3 days without headachesbefore they’d return and the cycle startedall over again.In October, during the team’s trip to theWest Coast, forward Brad May recom-mended that Lilja see a kinesiologist spe-cialist in Vancouver. Lilja saw Dr. DonaldGrant and went headache-free for fourdays after his appointment, which wasthe longest headache-free stretch for Liljasince the injury.The Wings miss Lilja’s 6-foot-3 frameon the third defensive pairing, espe-cially during last spring’s Stanley Cupplayoffs, as he usually logs a lot of timeon the penalty kill and was among theteam-best in blocked shots. He ﬁnishedthird on the team behind defensemenNiklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart with92 blocked shots despite playing only 60games last season.
Lilja Feature_Iss 4.indd 4-51/20/10 1:42:09 PM