The Chicago Blackhawks made three injury report announcements today while the team practice in New Jersey ahead of taking on the New York Rangers tomorrow night. Notably, Jujhar Khaira is out of practice today with a non-COVID illness, Connor Murphy has been place in concussion protocol, and Tyler Johnson will miss the next three months after having neck surgery.
A batch of medical updates for the #Blackhawks:
– Khaira out today (non-COVID illness)
– Murphy in concussion protocol
– T. Johnson out three months after successful neck surgery this morninghttps://t.co/ggrpkrFAV9
— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) December 3, 2021
Murphy took a big hit from Alex Ovechkin in last night’s 4-3 shootout win over the Capitals and had to leave the game early in the third period. Murphy did not return and looked shaken-up when leaving the ice. He has been a fixture defensively for the Blackhawks this season, skating in all 22 games this season and averaging 21:44 minutes per game. He has one goal and one assist on the year.
Major news comes from Tyler Johnson having neck surgery. Johnson has been out since October 29th with a neck issue and was also on the COVID protocol list for the Blackhawks. He skated in eight games to begin the season with Chicago, tallying a goal and two assists. According to Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry, Johnson had been trying to manage the neck pain while trying to return to the team, but was unable to reach a point where he could play.
Statement from #Blackhawks team physician on Tyler Johnson: “After trying to manage his neck pain conservatively for the past couple of weeks, Tyler underwent neck surgery today. The prognosis is good and his anticipated return to play is approximately three months.”
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) December 3, 2021
The neck surgery that Johnson received was apparently the same neck surgery that Jack Eichel received once he was traded from the Buffalo Sabres. The ADR disc replacement surgery was said to be the first done on an NHL player for Eichel. Now Johnson becomes the second.
The three-month recover timeframe for Johnson puts him likely returning to the club in late-February or early-March, so long as the recovery goes as expected. We shall see what the team does as far as roster moves go to accommodate the losses of Murphy and Johnson from the roster.