Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will miss the playoffs due to a herniated disk in his neck that will require surgery. His recovery will take four to six months.
"Kris underwent an MRI in February that revealed a herniated disc in his neck," General Manager Jim Rutherford said on Wednseday. "Our neurosurgeons examined him and recommended conservative treatment in an attempt to correct the condition without surgery. Kris had been making progress and was hopeful of returning for the playoffs until about a week ago, when the progress plateaued. He underwent another MRI, and, at that point it was determined that surgery was needed."
Letang, 29, has not played since Feb. 21. He began skating on his own after an initial MRI in February, but his recovery would not progress leading to more tests from the Penguins' medical staff.
"Right now, it's pretty hard to swallow. It was not expected," Letang said. "I was going through rehab. It was going really well. It's just in the last week that it blew up on me. It's hard, but like I've done in the past, I'm going to put my energy into getting better and get back to where I was."
Pittsburgh is 12-5-3 in their last 20 games without Letang.
The loss of Letang is a devastating blow to a Pittsburgh team already rife with injuries. He is without a doubt the team's best player on defense. His role on the team is often overlooked due to teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but he is one of the Penguins' most indispensable players.
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