The injury to Cal Clutterbuck’s back was even worse than it appeared.
The integral Islanders winger has been dealing with a few serious ailments for almost two months that eventually led to him missing Game 4 of their second-round series against the Hurricanes, which ended the
Isles’ season in a sweep. The injuries and subsequent surgery could keep Clutterbuck out for the start of next season depending on what type of procedure is performed.
“Stress fracture, rotated vertebrae, two slipped discs, pinched nerve,” is how Clutterbuck rambled off the things that are wrong during Monday’s breakup day on Long Island. “A couple things that need to be addressed in there, so I’ll go see a couple specialists and go from there.”
The 31-year-old known for his aggressive, physical style, said the options range from diskectomy, which would keep him out four-to-six weeks, to a spinal fusion, which could be four-to-six months. With three more years left on his deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $3.5 million, he has already spoken to doctors about the viability of continuing to play in the NHL — but he’s far from that point right now.
“On the worse end, it’s not considered to be career-threatening,” Clutterbuck said. “There are some changes I would have to make, just the way I felt and range of motion and stuff. But that’s a long way down the road.
“So I’m just going to go into my appointments with the mindset to see what they have to say and make my decision. Hopefully I can do something on the lesser end and see if that helps and put off a major surgery for a while. I guess we’ll find out in the next couple days.”
Goalie Robin Lehner said he was looking forward to a summer when he can reset the medication that helps with his mental illness, as well as find a consistent therapist and get into better shape — three things he couldn’t do as much as he would have liked after returning from rehab last summer for substance abuse.
“This season is a bounce-back season for me,” said the 27-year-old Lehner, a pending unrestricted free agent. “We wanted to go as far as we could, but the season I’m really excited about is the one next year because I can find the last piece of the puzzle and really find a good routine. Wherever I’m going to be, whatever is going to happen, just going to start over and start new.”
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk broke his foot blocking a shot in Game 4 of the first round, but he was skating for the past week and was eyeing a return for Game 6 of the second round.
Forward Brock Nelson was not at breakup day because his wife. Karley, gave birth to their second child. Nelson, 27, is coming off a one-year, $4.25 million deal.