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Mark Stone leaves practice early with discomfort day before Game 1, walking gingerly

The Golden Knights star has had two back surgeries over the past year.

Mark Stone #61 of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates his second period goal against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Five of the First Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena on April 27, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights host the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series, and they face a potentially serious issue. Right winger Mark Stone left Tuesday’s practice before it finished and was spotted walking gingerly off the ice into the locker room. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said he assumed everything is good, but we won’t know for certain until Wednesday ahead of Game 1.

Stone has dealt with significant back injuries over the past year. He missed 26 games a year ago and underwent a lumbar discectomy on May 19. He returned for the start of the regular season on October 11 and played in 43 games before injuring his back on January 12. He had another surgery on January 31 and returned for the team’s first-round opener against the Winnipeg Jets.

Cassidy offered some optimism, but given Stone’s injury history and where things stand in the playoffs, there’s no reason to expect clarity yet from the coach.