Eichel disk surgery successful, Golden Knights say

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Jack Eichel had disk replacement surgery on his neck Friday.

It is unknown when the center will be able to play for the Vegas Golden Knights, who traded for him this month and approved the surgery he preferred.

“Jack Eichel underwent disk replacement surgery today that his doctor described as successful and without complications,” the Golden Knights said in a statement. “He is expected to make a full recovery. We will provide additional updates on the anticipated timing of his return to the ice when appropriate.”

Eichel had an artificial disk replacement (ADR), a surgery that had never been done on an NHL player. He wanted to have surgery since the spring, but the Sabres said they preferred a fusion procedure. After the trade, the Golden Knights said Eichel would have the surgery he chose.

“I feel very, very confident in what I’m doing,” Eichel said Monday. “There’s been other players that have dealt with herniated disks in other ways, but from what I’ve gathered speaking to them, they really were never given the option, and I feel very fortunate that my second opinion gave me this option to look at as being the superior surgery.”

Eichel said last week he thought he would be able to return to play in three months.

“The rehab process, you’re working out probably a week to 10 days post-operation,” Eichel told NHL Network. “It’s not like you’re doing a workout with heavy weights or anything, but you’re able to move around. Hopefully at six weeks I’ll be able to get back on the ice and start skating. And I’m hoping around 12 weeks, three months, that I’ll be back playing.”

He said in six months he expects to feel “100 percent, back to normal.”

Three months from the surgery would be Feb. 12. The NHL is not scheduled to play from Feb. 3-22 in a break for participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Vegas’ first game after the break is Feb. 25 at the Arizona Coyotes.

Eichel was acquired Nov. 4 from the Buffalo Sabres for forwards Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch, a top 10 protected first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. Vegas also received a third-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Eichel has not played since March 7. He scored 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 21 games last season and scored 355 points (139 goals, 216 assists) in 375 games in six seasons with the Sabres, who selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

“When you lose something that you love so much, it makes you appreciate it that much more,” the 25-year-old said. “That’s sort of the situation here. I haven’t been able to play nearly as much hockey as I wanted and, quite frankly, I really miss playing. I miss scoring goals. I miss competing with my teammates. So I look forward to just getting back to doing what I love.”

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