Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo wrote a thank you letter to his fans on the team's website Monday, revealing that he battled illness stemming from medication he took last season and possibly suffered a concussion.
"I've worked with a lot of different people - concussion experts and people who have dealt with concussions themselves - and I feel confident in the fact that I can play hockey again," he wrote on the Sabres website. "In fact, I know I can play again.
"I know I can play and not worry about hitting my head, which is a major hurdle for someone who's dealt with this. If I didn't feel 100 percent right now, that probably wouldn't be the case."
Okposo was sidelined on March 28 when he complained of feeling ill before a game at Columbus. He had just returned to the lineup and played two games after missing 10 because of a rib injury.
"It all started with a routine hit in practice on a normal play," he explained. "Just a hard bump. In fact, the play was so common that I sort of just brushed it off without thinking much of it.
"But in the ensuing days, my mood began to change. I didn't notice, but the people around me did. By the time we were playing our game against Florida on March 27, I had been having trouble sleeping for a couple of days already. My senses for some reason were worsening with each passing day. I thought I was just overtired."
Okposo said the medication he took to sleep caused a "negative reaction," as he still could not sleep and lost weight at an "alarming rate." He was sent to intensive care at Buffalo General Medical Center.
"At one point, I weighed less than 200 pounds," he continued. "I haven't weighed that little since I was 17. Now, the initial thought was a possible concussion."
Okposo missed the rest of the regular season with what the Sabres called an undisclosed illness, citing medical privacy laws in declining to reveal its nature and severity.
New Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said last month that Okposo looked great and is on track to report for the start of training camp in September.
"Winning here is something that I want badly, Okposo wrote in Monday's letter. "I said at my opening press conference that I came to the Sabres because I think we have a chance to win the Stanley Cup, and I really believe that.
"I think Jason and Phil [Housley] are going to be a big part of it. I can't wait to be back with the boys next month to get this going."
Okposo's recovery took another step last week as he skated in a summer game in Minnesota - his first since missing the end of the regular season.
"The first game itself was not good," he wrote. "We got whacked, 10-3. But I've come a long way since March and April, so it was nice to just play hockey again. I'm healthy and feel great!"
In his first season with the Sabres, the 29-year-old scored 19 goals and 45 points in 65 regular season games. He spent his first nine seasons with the New York Islanders before signing a seven-year, $42-million contract with Buffalo last July.