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Jonathan Toews OK after one-car crash, but it could delay his return

Jonathan Toews’ Mercedes had considerable front-end damage after striking CTA support beam Lake Street Thursday morning.

Jonathan Toews’ Mercedes had considerable front-end damage after striking a CTA support beam on Lake Street on Thursday morning.

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Updated: March 25, 2012 8:19AM

Just over an hour before the Blackhawks practiced Thursday morning for their game against the Dallas Stars, Jonathan Toews crashed his car on the way to the United Center. But he’s OK.

“I’m good,” Toews said via text message when reached by the Sun-Times.

That’s positive news, but until Toews returns to the lineup, there are reasons to be concerned about one of the NHL’s biggest stars.

Before the crash occurred, Toews, 23, already was ruled out of Thursday’s game because of what the team continues to call an upper-body injury but by all accounts is starting to look like a possible concussion.

Kyle Weber, a physical therapist for Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers in Lincoln Park, said the speed of a crash plays a big role in determining the extent of injuries but said an athlete is ‘‘going to recover faster than somebody who sits at a desk all day.”

“If he said he feels fine, and he’s likely in better shape than most adults, he’ll have less effects in terms of muscle soreness and things like that because he’s taking a beating on the ice pretty daily,” Weber said. “The effects of a car crash pretty much depend on the mechanism of injury and how fast they are going. There are a lot of varying degrees of what could happen.”

With head-on collisions, whiplash might be a factor. The front end of Toews’ 2009 Mercedes had considerable damage after striking a beam on Lake Street at 9:22 a.m.

Toews turned left from southbound Garvey Court onto eastbound Lake Street. While merging into the right lane, Toews’ car struck the steel beam, Chicago police said. No citations were issued in the one-car crash. Toews was not administered a field sobriety test and refused medical treatment. The vehicle was towed from the scene, police said.

“If he does have any whiplash, you can get soreness in any muscles and potentially damage to segments of the spine or muscles that way,” Weber said. “But it’s tough to speculate unless you know really how fast he was going.”

But if Toews is battling a concussion, “he would definitely have a predisposition to any further injury,” said Weber.

Coach Joel Quenneville said that Toews was “OK” and “progressing.” But he wouldn’t say whether Toews will travel with the team for back-to-back games this weekend in California.

“Much against popular notion, a lot of people think you need a loss of consciousness with a concussion, but over 90 percent of concussions are without loss of consciousness,’’ said physical therapist Paul Schroeder, who runs Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers’ concussion program. ‘‘This would be one of those things if he’s exhibiting any of those symptoms of a concussion — a headache, feeling slow or dazed or lethargic or any of [them] — he should be managed with cognitive rest and just [relaxing].”

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