Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik (right) participated in a full practice with the team today for the first time since he was injured in an attack by Bruins forward Shawn Thornton Dec. 7. Orpik also held his first media availability since the attack. Here is the transcript:
How do you feel?
"I feel a lot better than I did last week. It’s just kind of good to be around the group of guys. I think with any injury, I think you feel like you’re isolated from the team and kind of on your own problem. It’s good to be around the whole group atmosphere."
Do you still feel symptoms?
"No. I passed the baseline test. I did some hitting some contact yesterday with [Deryk Engelland], [Tanner Glass] and [Rob Scuderi] yesterday. Got through that and felt pretty good today. Just kind of go from there."
Has the team doctor told you to take things slowly to get back into game shape?
"He didn’t have precautions really. It was either you’re either in or your not. He said, ‘I’m not going to let you go back in until I don’t have any restrictions on you.’ It just really getting back in the flow of things I guess. I don’t know. I don't know when I'll be back playing. I don’t want to screw up a good thing. Just try to get in a few more practices in here."
How bad were the symptoms?
"The first two or three days were pretty miserable. Just really bad headaches and memory loss. Just the incident and the game itself, after that, I remember everything. Since the incident, there was no memory loss."
What are your thoughts on the attack?
"I haven’t watched it and I don’t have any memory of it. I don’t really have a thought on it. I’ve kind of avoided it. I don’t really have any desire to watch it to be honest."
There have been suggestions you should have fought Thornton after your hit which on Bruins forward Loui Eriksson.
"I didn’t watch the hit or the game so asking me questions about the game, I can’t really …"
In general, should a player have to fight after a legal hit?
"My opinion is probably different from the next guy and different from the next guy. People have their own opinion on that. There’s a lot of hits during the season. There would be a lot of fighting if that was the case."
What is different about a concussion versus other injuries?
"It was really my first concussion since college so it was I guess a different experience for me. It was a little bit different than a broken bone and stuff like that. Going through it for the first time. Anytime you’re injured, you always think it could be a lot worse. You just kind of try to learn from it and move on."
Have you talked to Thornton?
"I talked to him that night and I talked to him the day after."
Did he apologize?
"Yeah. He was really apologetic. I got to know him the last four or five years. Last year, I think we skated … I don’t know, it was a long lockout, so probably 40-50 times together, worked out together, went to lunch together, stuff like that. He texted me. He was really apologetic. It’s not … my record is far from perfect in this league or far from being completely clean. It’s one of those things … I think he knew he made a mistake and regretted it right away. I’ve had the same feeling with certain incidents that I’ve been a part of. I think you just try to learn from it and move on and try to be smarter in similar situations going forward. Like I said, I know him pretty well. He’s always been a pretty good friend of mine."
Do you feel his 15-game suspension was appropriate?
"I don’t really care about the suspension really. I think just like every question, everyone is going to have an opinion. Everyone isn’t going to be completely satisfied or completely agree with it."
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