Cale Makar back in concussion protocol, out at least 2 games

Colorado Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar is back in the concussion protocol, coach Jared Bednar confirmed Tuesday, and is expected to miss at least the next two games.

Bednar announced the update to Makar's status during his weekly appearance with Altitude Sports Radio in Denver. Bednar is expected to address the media later Tuesday.

Makar previously was sidelined for four games with a head injury suffered on Feb. 7 when he took a hit from Pittsburgh's Jeff Carter. He returned to the lineup Saturday when the Avalanche faced the St. Louis Blues but was injured again in a collision with Alexey Toropchenko.

In a postgame interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette, Makar said his initial concern when going to the dressing room was that he "got kind of bruised on the nose, just because I think my visor hit it."

A league-mandated concussion spotter in St. Louis didn't pull Makar from the game, but Bednar said Tuesday that Makar experienced a delayed reaction to the hit and was eventually put into the concussion protocol. That was similar to what transpired for Makar after the Carter hit -- he was cleared to return for that game but felt oncoming concussion symptoms the following day.

The Avalanche visit the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday before returning to Colorado on Saturday to host the Calgary Flames.

Losing Makar again is a major blow to Colorado's blue line. The NHL's reigning Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe winner, Makar is the Avalanche's top-pairing defender with 13 goals and 45 points in 46 games this season.