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Elias expected to play in Olympics despite suffering concussion

New Jersey Devils head trainer Richard Stinziano, top, tens to left wiger Patrik Elias, of the Czech Republic, after he was injured when hit by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rayn Wilson early in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Elias was taken off the ice on a stretcher. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Zalubowski)

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New Jersey Devils head trainer Richard Stinziano, top, tens to left wiger Patrik Elias, of the Czech Republic, after he was injured when hit by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rayn Wilson early in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Elias was taken off the ice on a stretcher. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Zalubowski)

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - Team officials for the Czech Republic believe captain Patrik Elias will recover in time for next month's Vancouver Olympics even though the New Jersey Devils have put him on the injured list with a concussion.

Czech team spokesman Pavel Barta said Wednesday that Elias's condition was "hopeful," adding "we hope the problem isn't serious."

The left-winger was hurt Saturday when he was checked by Colorado's Ryan Wilson. The defenceman's shoulder hit Elias's chin on the play.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello announced the move Tuesday, saying Elias was examined by a neurologist and will be seen again later this week.

The Devils said that "at this point, there is no time frame for his return. Patrik will resume activity when the doctor sees fit."

Czech Republic coach Vladimir Ruzicka remained optimistic, saying on local radio that he hoped Elias "will be fine" for the Olympics as he is "certainly" irreplaceable.

A statement in Czech posted Wednesday on Elias's official website said the initial examination showed a light concussion. It said Elias was resting at home and would recover soon.

Elias should undergo a medical check at the end of the week and the result will determine when he would be able to return to the team, the statement said.

The Czechs open the Olympic group stage Feb. 17 against Slovakia, before facing Latvia and Russia.

Elias, who has 10 goals in 32 games this season, and former NHL star Jaromir Jagr are the major cogs on the Czech Olympic team. The Czechs won the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and defeated Russia to win the bronze medal at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

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