Wild’s Ballard unable to finish practice, likely to miss fourth straight game


There was little news on the Keith Ballard front out of Minnesota on Monday, and that wasn’t a good thing.

Ballard, the veteran defenseman that’s missed the last three games after taking a puck to the face, didn’t practice today — this after leaving Sunday’s skate early because he wasn’t feeling well.

“We tried getting him on the ice,” head coach Mike Yeo told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “So let’s just hold him off for a couple of days and see what happens.”

The Wild aren’t saying it, but there are signs suggesting Ballard could have a concussion. The 30-year-old rearguard got hit with the puck during a 2-1 win over Buffalo on Oct. 10, and has basically been out of commission ever since — five days after the incident, Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune reported that Ballard looked “foggy and hurting.”

Minnesota is home against Nashville on Tuesday and will likely be without Ballard for the fourth straight game. Though he hasn’t made a huge impact for the Wild, Ballard was averaging close to 16 minutes per game and had a plus-3 rating through six contests, so his contributions will be missed.