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Less than 7 weeks after stroke, Penguins' Kris Letang cleared for practice

Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang (58) looks on during an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Pittsburgh, Feb.11, 2012. Less than seven weeks after sustaining a stroke, Letang was cleared to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will join the team for practice Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gene J. Puskar

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Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang (58) looks on during an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets in Pittsburgh, Feb.11, 2012. Less than seven weeks after sustaining a stroke, Letang was cleared to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will join the team for practice Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gene J. Puskar

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Less than seven weeks after sustaining a stroke, Kris Letang was cleared to practice with the Pittsburgh Penguins and will join the team for practice Monday.

Letang, who has not played since a Jan. 29 stroke and resulting discovery of a small hole in his heart, has been taken off blood thinner medication. The defenceman has missed the past 14 games.

"He still has some other things to go through (before returning to game action)," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, "but we knew that this was the six-week mark (since the stroke diagnosis) and there was a chance. He's been working out, he's been skating and doing quite a bit on his own."

A Norris Trophy finalist as the league's top defenceman last season, Letang signed an eight-year, $58 million contract extension last summer. He has 10 goals and eight assists in 34 games this season.

Letang did not skate at all for more than four weeks after the stroke and was not skating vigorously until this past week.

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