Ducks’ Justin Kirkland hospitalized after car accident

Ducks forward Justin Kirkland was hospitalized after a car accident in Orange County on Sunday on his way to their game against the Boston Bruins and remains under evaluation.

He has full mobility and has been communicating with family and teammates, according to the Ducks. The expectation is that Kirkland could be released from UCI Health in the next 24 to 48 hours, or even as early as Monday night.

“We are thankful for the quick care and treatment Justin received from first responders and medical staff at UCI Health,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement on Monday. “Justin is in great spirits, and we hope he will be released shortly.”

Kirkland, 26, was signed by the Ducks in July on a one-year, two-way contract after having spent the past three seasons playing for the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate in Stockton. He was called up from the Ducks’ AHL team in San Diego on Dec. 20, and made his NHL debut that night against the Kings. Kirkland has appeared in seven games in fourth-line duty with the Ducks, and previously had 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 19 games with the Gulls.  His season high in time on ice with the Ducks was 8 minutes 38 seconds was on Dec. 21 against Minnesota.

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