Report: Panthers doctors concerned about Willie Mitchell’s health

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Florida Panthers team doctors are apparently concerned about captain Willie Mitchell‘s long-term health and have warned him not to come back, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald.

Mitchell is expected to decide in the coming days whether he will return to the lineup after suffering from concussion related issues.

The 38-year-old defenceman has been out of the lineup since Jan. 18, but has been skating the last few weeks in hopes of making a return prior to the playoffs.

“Willie has to decide whether he can play or not,” general manager Dale Tallon told the Miami Herald on Thursday.

“We want to make sure he doesn’t get hurt, we want to make sure there is no permanent damage. But this is up to Willie. We want to do what is best for him. That’s the bottom line. The doctors have said they’re concerned with his long-term health.”

Mitchell is in the final year of a two-year contract that pays him $4.25 million this season.

The Panthers (40-24-9) are in second place in the Atlantic Division with nine games remaining in the regular season.

Mitchell hasn’t spoken to the media since January.