Predators' Watson reinstated from suspension

Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has been reinstated from suspension by the league, but the team had no word on when he will return to the ice.

Watson, 27, was suspended indefinitely and admitted into Stage 2 of the NHL's program for substance abuse and behavioral health in January.

The suspension was "related exclusively to his ongoing issues with alcohol abuse," the league and union said then in a joint statement. The suspension was without pay.

On Monday, the Predators released a statement saying the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program recommended Watson be "returned to available status" and said that he had "entered the follow-up care phase of the program."

The Predators did not release any information on Watson's possible return to play. The team said its focus was on "Austin and his family's well-being" and said there would be no further comment.

Watson had been suspended for the preseason and the first 18 games of the regular season after pleading no contest to domestic abuse last summer.

He was arrested in Tennessee at a gas station in June and charged with domestic assault against his girlfriend.

In an Instagram post, he talked about his struggles with alcoholism, depression and anxiety and said he has dealt with them since he was 18.

In the post, he said he had been sober for almost two years until he began drinking again in May of last year.

Since returning from the first suspension, Watson had seven goals and six assists in 34 games. He has spent his entire five-year career with the Predators, who selected him with the 18th pick in the first round of the 2010 draft.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.