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Travis Hamonic returns to Long Island for more testing

Travis Hamonic (3) takes a shot on goal

Travis Hamonic (3) takes a shot on goal in the first period of a game against the Dallas Stars. (Jan. 6, 2014) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

TAMPA, Fla. -- Travis Hamonic has gone back to Long Island for further evaluation of his upper-body injury, which is believed to be a concussion.

That’s obviously bad news for the Islanders, who need to muddle through another game Thursday night against a fast Lightning team without their top defenseman.

Concussions are scary. Given the situation with another important Isles defenseman -- Lubomir Visnovsky, who now just is getting back to skating on his own this week after missing three months with a concussion -- fans are right to be concerned about Hamonic.

But no two concussions are alike. Hamonic was initially thought to be suffering from the flu when he had to leave Sunday’s game in Dallas after two periods. Those symptoms (aches, nausea) can also be concussion symptoms, which is how the diagnosis changed a day later.

So my feeling is Hamonic went back home to be able to rest without having to sit through games and hotels and all the moving around that goes with being on the road. He hasn’t been placed on injured reserve yet, but with a suspected concussion come protocols, so there’s very little chance he’ll be back before next week.

There’s also no chance Visnovsky returns by next week as he needs to get his conditioning back. So with Radek Martinek back, the Islanders have seven defensemen, but obviously not their ideal group.

Kevin Poulin and Ben Bishop are the goaltenders here, and Peter Regin goes back into the lineup with Ryan Strome back in Bridgeport. Regin will play the left side with Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey, while Brock Nelson centers Michael Grabner and Cal Clutterbuck.

Thomas Hickey will pair with Martinek on defense and the rookie tandem of Calvin de Haan and Matt Donovan, a pairing that finished Tuesday’s game against the Panthers and didn’t look too bad, will start together.

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