The Winnipeg Jets’ season is all but over, but defenseman Tyler Myers is going to have a long summer of work ahead of him in order to get healthy in time for the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
It was announced Thursday that Myers, 26, will be out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, but that’s not the worst of it. Once Myers recovers from knee surgery, he’ll have to go under the knife once more to repair a nagging hip issue that has ailed the towering defenseman for the past few seasons.
“The hip he has been dealing with maybe over years,” coach Paul Maurice said. “You can play with it until you can’t, and it’s just gotten to the point that doctors felt this was the time to get it done. The knee is not something that’s necessarily a problem until it becomes one. You cannot get anything done with it, and then it hits that threshold of, ‘We’re going to need to fix this knee.’ That is very, very recent.”
The knee surgery was necessary now, too, because if Myers didn’t have it repaired, there’s no telling when he would be able to get the hip surgery done.
“He needs his knee to rehab the hip, so the knee (surgery) has to happen now,” Maurice said. “If we waited until the end of the season, did the knee, it would push the hip closer to May, which now gets closer to October, into the regular season, before he’s back on the ice playing, which would be a true miss of training camp for us.”
And the recovery time for all of this? It’s not pretty. The estimated time for recovery is 16-20 weeks, which could mean Myers isn’t back on the ice skating until late August or September. As for why Myers hadn’t taken care of the injury sooner, Maurice said Myers has been able to keep up without going under the knife, but it was no longer “maintainable.”
“(The hip injury) got on the radar over the course of the year that there might be a possibility because he started to feel it more, it started to get worse,” Maurice said. “We knew it was going to happen over the past two months. We knew that this was possibly on the radar even at the start of the year. At some point this was going to have to be done, but it was good enough that there was no need to go in at the start (of the season).”
Even if Myers can’t return for the start of the 2016-17 campaign, it’s a smart move by the Jets to get the surgery done now to possibly protect their investment in the defenseman. Myers has three years remaining on his contract at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million, and he’s one of the Jets’ top defensemen.
Myers has nine goals and 27 points in 73 games this season and was on pace to suit up in all 82 games for the Jets before he was shut down for the year. Over the course of the season, Myers has had the second-highest average ice time of all Jets at 22:37 per game.