Blackhawks F Tyler Johnson sidelined by neck surgery

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • FILE - Chicago Blackhawks' Tyler Johnson looks on during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Oct. 4, 2021, in Detroit. Johnson became the second NHL player to have an unusual neck surgery on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. His operation was the same artificial disk replacement surgery that Jack Eichel underwent last month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce what kind of operation Johnson had.

    FILE - Chicago Blackhawks' Tyler Johnson looks on during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Oct. 4, 2021, in Detroit. Johnson became the second NHL player to have an unusual neck surgery on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. His operation was the same artificial disk replacement surgery that Jack Eichel underwent last month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce what kind of operation Johnson had. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/3/2021 6:25 PM

Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson on Friday became the second NHL player to have an artificial disk replacement in his neck.

Johnson's operation was the same surgery that Jack Eichel underwent last month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce what kind of operation Johnson had.

 

The 31-year-old Johnson will be sidelined for approximately three months, according to team physician Michael Terry.

Johnson has one goal and two assists in eight games in his first season with Chicago after he was acquired in a July trade with Tampa Bay. Terry said Johnson had been trying to manage his neck pain conservatively for the past couple weeks.

'úComing here as a new player, fresh start again, and just this happens,'Ě interim coach Derek King said. 'úSo I feel for him. Obviously we'd love to happen on the team, in the lineup. He would help us. But he's got to do what's best for Tyler, and we'll back him up on the decisions he makes.'Ě

The Blackhawks also announced defenseman Connor Murphy had entered concussion protocol, and forward Jujhar Khaira was being held out of practice with an illness that isn't COVID-19.

Murphy left Thursday night's 4-3 shootout win at Washington after absorbing a big hit by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

The Blackhawks visit the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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