Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is still dealing with symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome, he announced Sunday.
“First of all, thank you to the fans and all those who have shown concern about my absence. I’m still dealing with the symptoms of Long COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome,” Toews said in a statement released by the Blackhawks.
“It has been really challenging to play through these symptoms. In the last few weeks, it has reached the point where I had no choice but to step back and concentrate on getting healthy. I am thankful for the patience and support of my teammates, the coaching staff, and the entire Blackhawks organization.”
The 34-year-old hasn’t played since Jan. 28 and also missed the 2020-21 season with what he described as chronic immune response syndrome.
Long COVID, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, does not affect everyone the same way but can include a wide range of health problems, including general fatigue, and respiratory, heart, neurological and digestive symptoms. The symptoms can last weeks, months or years.
Moments before the release, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli and The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus reported Toews would not be moved before the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline after both he and the Blackhawks agreed he needed time to recover from his illness.
According to Seravalli, Toews does not appear to be facing long-term health concerns and could still return this season.
Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson told reporters Sunday that the trade deadline is secondary to Toews’s recovery.
Toews has spent his entire career with Chicago, winning three Stanley Cup titles. But he is eligible for free agency after this season.
He had 12 goals and 25 assists in 71 games when he returned to action last year, and he had looked stronger this season. He has 14 goals and 14 assists in 46 games for the last-place Blackhawks.
With files from The Associated Press