The New York Islanders of 2017-18 were dealt an early blow that also sheds some light on one player’s performance last season: The team announced Shane Prince will miss four to six months after ankle surgery for an injury that he tried to address and play through with non-surgical rehab.
Prince had an uneven first full season with the Isles after impressing as a bottom-six forward when he was acquired late in the previous season (2015-16) from the Ottawa Senators. This injury news helps explain why he was in and out of the lineup — and not always due to declared injury — in 2016-17.
The announcement from the Isles is uncharacteristically thorough in terms of the medical timeline, likely because hearing if it now will make fans wonder about the decision-making process (what? Isles fans? Never!):
"At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Shane Prince returned home and continued the rehabilitation of his high ankle sprain injury," the Islanders announced on their website Monday. "During the later stages of his rehabilitation he began to have increasing discomfort that deterred his training process for the upcoming 2017-18 season. After notifying our medical staff he was referred to specialists, who after trying more conservative measures determined that it was in Shane's best interest to have surgery. He has since had the surgery, is doing well and is expected to return to full activity in 4-6 months."
Prince also added his own two cents reinforcing that message, via Twitter:
High ankle sprains are hard, and people — even high-performance athletes -- try to avoid surgery and invasive procedures whenever possible if rehab offers a realistic route to health.
Sounds like it didn’t work in this case. It’s a pity for Prince, but another opening for the trio of young top prospect forwards (Joshua Ho-Sang, Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier) angling for opening night roster spots. (Or for Jaromir Jagr. He could be a thing...right?)