As if coming off the worst year of his career by an injury standpoint wasn't bad enough, Chris Pronger (36) will have to undergo a discectomy in the off-season after being evaluated by doctors yesterday (Tuesday, 10-May).
We [fans] were all aware of Pronger's broken hand. But this back issue's become a bit of a surprise. What we believed would be a 6-week healing period for Prongs this off-season, may be dramatically longer than that. Possibly by the end of June or beginning of July.
According to the Bonati Spine Institute (or in otherwords -- the first source that showed up in Google), a "bone spur" is intensely painful. Especially when rubbing against another nerve. They most commonly form due to...ready for this?....aging.
"Bone spur formation is the body’s attempt to increase the surface area of a joint to better distribute weight across a joint surface that has been damaged by arthritis or other conditions." ~ Bonati.com
Now, in Pronger's case, "other conditions" means all the hellfire he's brought down on his opponents and the souls from children he's eaten over his 16-year tenure in the league.
When it began bothering him this season remains a bit of a mystery.
“I don’t know if was Game 6 against Buffalo, the game where he didn’t play much or in Game 7, he obviously played more in that game, but I know he was struggling in Game 7 at the end,” Paul Holmgren said on Tuesday. “The first game in the Boston series it was noticeable, to me, that he was struggling with it. The rest of that series he struggled and had a hard time walking around.”
Fact is Chris is just getting old. I'm 28 and I pulled both of my hamstrings playing kickball over the weekend. Granted, Pronger's in shape and I'm built like an effing lava lamp, but I'm still almost 10 years his minor. A man close to 40 playing a physical game like hockey his entire life will begin getting tolls taken on his body. It's science.
Now the questions start pouring in; Will he retire? Should we worry about his recovery? Will he be the same effective force? Yadda yadda yadda...
Only time will tell. He may be an aging professional athlete, but he's STILL a professional athlete. If you or I needed something removed from our spines, we wouldn't be able to wipe our asses without mommy helping for the next two months.
Chris may bounce back from this in a handful of weeks, hit the ice come October, crush an opponent through the glass, grab the camera, look straight into it and say...
"You doubting me now, bitches!?"
^ On second thought; that's not gonna happen.