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Ballard talks recovery, retirement following vicious hit

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Wild defenseman Keith Ballard doesn't remember much about the hit that knocked him out of the Wild's lineup, but the defenseman is giving careful consideration to his future, before returning to the ice.

Ballard spoke to reporters, Monday, for the first time since he slammed head face into the boards, suffering three facial fractures and a concussion against the New York Islanders on Dec. 9.

Nearly a month later, Ballard said he's still experiencing symptoms from the concussion.

"Not ready to make that decision right now," Ballard said when he was asked about his future. "I'll make it if I get to that point. I might not have to make it depending on how long these symptoms last."

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The Star Tribune's Michael Russo notes that Ballard has suffered three concussions in the past 14 months and five in the past five years.

The Baudette native is concerned about what effects those hits may have on his future.

"That's still more important to me than playing hockey, but again I'm not going to make that decision right now," Ballard said. "I'm going to let his play out and see how I feel."

While Ballard doesn't remember much about the hit, he has watched it a few times.

"I was in a bad spot, and I think I was in a bad spot regardless," Ballard said. "I had dumped the puck and he's playing on the other side of the ice and comes all the way over to finish his check, which I understand that; guys like that, that's what they do."

After the injury, Ballard didn't undergo surgery, but said the whole first week following the hit "was just kind of a blur."

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