"Yeah dude, right under there. Hurts like a bitch."

The start of the season has brought with it some weird, disappointing, and incredibly stupid injuries. Here are the highlights (lowlights?) and a friendly reminder that John Scott is still enormous.

Jason Spezza isn’t Daniel Alfredsson

That huge groan of disappointment you heard this week was Bryan Murray announcing that Ottawa’s top scorer and goofiest laugher Jason Spezza will be out indefinitely for back surgery. Spezza hasn’t played since last week’s shootout loss to Pittsburgh due to an upper body injury, which has turned out to be a herniated disc. That’s the same injury that led to Daniel Alfredsson absolutely stinking up the 2010-11 season before he finally had surgery, and apparently one Spezza has decided not to tough out.

Spezza had surgery in May of 2006 for a herniated lumbar (lower back) disc, and has missed games here and there since then for back issues. Discs, as you may recall, are complete jerks. They’re rings of tough cartilage between each vertebrae, and every now and then they split open and barf their jelly-like contents out. Those contents can press on the spinal nerves (the nerves that run from the spine to various body parts) and as you’d expect, that hurts like stink and does things like make your legs go numb/hurt/not work very well. Normally you’d start easy with physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory meds, and even injections into the area, but if that’s not working after six weeks, studies show you may as well just go ahead and have the surgery. Based on Murray’s statement, this is a chronic issue, not an acute injury:

“You probably could take days off and play a game here and there but that doesn’t make any sense for him or us. So getting it done, hopefully getting it cleaned out will allow him to come back at 100 per cent and continue his career.”

Assuming all goes well, Spezza will start rehabbing two weeks post-op, and could be back in two months.


Ryan Callahan did what?

Rangers captain and adorable grandma-haver Ryan Callahan suffered a left shoulder subluxation when Philadelphia’s Maxime Talbot tried to pull his arm out of the socket.



A subluxation is a dislocation’s annoying little brother. The head of the humerus (that’s the ball at the top of the upper arm bone) pulls partway out of the socket and then pops back in. It can be a nothing injury or a season-ender. If nothing gets torn, then a 10-14 day recovery to let swelling go down is all you’d need. The problem is that subluxations can come with some of the same joint damage caused by dislocations, and those sorts of things are generally surgical problems (unless you like having your arm pop out at inconvenient moments, which is to say any moment at all ever). Callahan’s MRI was clean though, so he’ll be back shortly.

John Scott is still huge, and Shawn Thornton is still concussed.

Normal people look like scale models next to John Scott

Thornton isn’t a small guy by any means, but watching him jump on John Scott Thursday night was like watching a rat terrier go after a Great Dane. Scott punched him in the side of the head a few times, and now Thornton is out for an estimated 7-10 days with a concussion. A few points: Estimating recovery times from concussions is just adorable. Good luck with that. Next, THE CODE is idiotic. Yes, Lucic ran Miller. Yes, that was gutless… gutless… but I’m not sure the Bruins and Sabres are really going to benefit from an ongoing habit of beating the snot out of each other. Then again I’m a big fan of keeping people’s brains intact, so maybe I’m not the best judge of this sort of thing.

Other Cruddy Injury Tidbits:

Patrick Kaleta bought himself an overnight stay at Buffalo General Hospital after an awkward hit from Toronto’s Mike Brown led to neck issues. This is a guy who’s had neck issues in the past, and spent some time in a neck brace in 2009. He went in for testing and went home the next day, so it doesn’t sound like there’s any giant neurosurgical issue at play. Just a gentle reminder that you only get one neck, and plenty of important stuff runs through there.

Calgary’s Sven Baertschi is out indefinitely with hip flexor issues. Hip flexors are a group of muscles that pull your knee up towards your body. You can strain one and be out just a little while, or you can rip one right off the bone. If you take part of the bone with it, you’ve got a delightful little thing called an avulsion injury. Believe it or not, those generally heal on their own in four to six weeks.

The fact that Mike Komisarek got pissed off at practice, smashed a stick, and tried to blind himself is old news. What we’ve all overlooked is how completely disgusting the treatment was. A chunk of graphite lodged itself in his eye, and then had to be fished out by a doctor. Stop. Think about that. Someone was fishing around in his eyeball to dig out a piece of graphite. After they got it out, they put a stitch in there. WHAT? Yes. A stitch. In his eyeball. Right in there. While horrifying, that’s less of a big deal than it sounds like. The eye is incredibly resilient, and as long as you keep your graphite out of the really important parts (like the part you see through) then you’ll probably be okay. You’ll always be the guy that tried to put out his own eye, but okay.


Is there some particular injury you’re dying to know more about? Drop me a line on the twitterz.