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Jack Eichel undergoes successful surgery on herniated disk

Updated November 12, 2021 - 5:22 pm

Jack Eichel, after living with a neck injury for eight months, disagreeing with the Buffalo Sabres over treatment options and receiving a trade to the Golden Knights, is on the road to recovery.

Eichel had his preferred artificial disk replacement surgery to treat a herniated disk in his neck Friday and is expected to be ready to play in three to five months. The Knights said his doctor described the operation as “successful and without complications.”

The procedure was scheduled to be performed at Rocky Mountain Spine Clinic in Denver by Dr. Chad Prusmack, who consults with the Denver Broncos.

The surgery ends a long saga for Eichel, who hasn’t played since he was injured March 7 against the New York Islanders. The operation means the 25-year-old has taken a long-awaited first step toward resuming his career.

“I know it’s going to work out,” Eichel said Monday. “I know I’m going to be back playing and put this all behind us.”

One of the reasons Eichel was traded was the surgery he favored.

Artificial disk replacement is not a new procedure, but it hadn’t been performed on an NHL player. The Sabres wanted Eichel to get a more common and proven disk fusion surgery.

Eichel did research, talking to doctors and athletes — including former UFC champion Chris Weidman — who have had the operation. He determined it was his best option, and the Knights agreed after trading right wing Alex Tuch, prospect Peyton Krebs and two conditional draft picks to land Eichel and a conditional pick.

“I think if everyone was to do as much research and learn as much about this as I have, you would come to terms with it’s a lot less risky than you think,” Eichel said Monday. “I just went out, did as much research, learned as much as I could about it, and I feel very very confident I made the right decision.”

Martinez injury

Knights coach Pete DeBoer didn’t have an update on defenseman Alec Martinez, who left Thursday’s win over the Minnesota Wild in the first period. Martinez was hit in the face by Minnesota left wing Brandon Duhaime’s skate.

DeBoer said after the game Martinez suffered an “ugly, ugly cut,” and that he heard the defenseman received more than 50 stitches.

Shot called

Defenseman Dylan Coghlan said right wing Jonas Rondbjerg told him he was going to score before Thursday’s game.

Rondbjerg scored with 3:19 left in the first period for his first NHL goal. Left wing Paul Cotter, who was assigned to the Silver Knights on Friday, also scored his first NHL goal earlier in the period.

“Right when we got to the rink, he said I’m going to score tonight,” Coghlan said. “I said, ‘Fair enough.’”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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