Doctor lays out timetables for Eichel recovery


File-This Feb. 28, 2021, file photo shows Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (9) skating during warmups prior to an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, in Buffalo, N.Y. Eichel is nearing a resolution with the team over how to treat a herniated disk following a lengthy discussion with general manager Kevyn Adams.
What the outcome will be — and what it means for his uncertain future in Buffalo — remains unclear. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – More info on the Jack Eichel-Buffalo Sabres saga. SportsNet’s “31 thoughts” podcast spoke with Dr. Chad Prusmack in an episode released Saturday, and it provided more context for the decision facing the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel. As it turns out, there are a variety of options regarding the team captain’s injured neck.

According to Dr. Prusmack, Jack essentially three options: He can opt for no surgery at all, which was not recommended. Eichel can get a fusion surgery which has a longer timetable for recovery, or he can get a disc replacement surgery which Dr. Prusmack believes is the best option for him.

Dr. Prusmack hinted that if Jack had no surgery, he would not recommend Eichel return to the ice at all. So far, the physical therapy that he’s been doing hasn’t shown enough benefit to warrant a return to the ice.

A fusion surgery is different than a replacement surgery. Putting it simply, a fusion surgery would potentially require more surgeries down the road. The replacement surgery, if everything goes well with recovery, most likely will be more beneficial long term, according to Dr. Prusmack.

When asked how long Jack would miss time for each option, the answers varied. If Eichel were to get the fusion surgery, Prusmack said “In my practice, three months. That varies across the nation.”

If he opts for a replacement surgery, then he could be back on the ice much sooner. Prusmack said, “Everything goes well, implant in place on flexion extension x-rays, asymptomatic and he is in shape, six weeks.”

Basically he would be able to get back on the ice in six weeks, and would be able to go full contact on the ice around eight to 12 weeks after the surgery.

No matter what, he’d miss the first part of the season, but the timetable for full recovery is much different depending on the choice made.

Ultimately it’s up to the Sabres because of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward.

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