Mattias Ohlund hasn't played a game for the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, and it's looking as if it's going to be quite a while before he suits up for them, or any team, again.
If he's ever able to.
The veteran defenseman is going to undergo major surgery on his left knee at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday according to Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, and it's a procedure that could be the final chance to save his career.
More from the Times on the surgery, and what exactly is going to happen:
The complicated procedure performed by noted orthopedist Anthony Miniaci will use a thin layer of titanium to resurface the bottom of the femur behind the kneecap. That should create a cushion where cartilage that usually covers the bone has flaked off to such an extent there is painful bone-on-bone rubbing at the patellofemoral joint.
There is no guarantee the surgery will resurrect Ohlund's 14-season career. There is not even a timetable for rehab.
The 35-year-old defenseman signed a seven-year, $25.2 million contract with the Lightning prior to the 2009-10 season, and it's a deal that still has four years remaining on it. In his first two years with Tampa Bay he didn't score a single goal in 139 games, and hasn't scored one since April 7, 2009, when he was still a member of the Vancouver Canucks. That's a lengthy stretch for a player that used to score around nine or 10 per season. He did record 18 assists in his first two years with the Lightning, and also took on a pretty heavy defensive role that usually saw him logging ice time in situations that required him to focus almost entirely on defense over offense.The Lightning have certainly missed him this season as they've been one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and Ohlund's absence has resulted in third-year rearguard Victor Hedman stepping into the big minutes that Ohlund had previously played.
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