Vancouver center and Selke Trophy winner Ryan Kesler was playing hurt during the Stanley Cup Final and now we know exactly what was wrong with him.
The Canucks announced Tuesday that Kesler underwent successful surgery to repair the labrum in his hip and is expected to have a full recovery in 10-12 weeks. The Vancouver Province reported Kesler had the surgery on July 25.
Vancouver is scheduled to open the 2011-12 season at home against Pittsburgh on Oct. 6, which would be 10 and a half weeks from the day Kesler reportedly had the operation. While the Canucks are hoping he can return for the start of the regular season, a more likely scenario has Kesler not returning to Vancouver's lineup until mid-to-late October.
Kesler first injured himself in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, but he played all seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.
"After consultation with our team physicians following the playoffs, it was deemed that Ryan would require a procedure on his hip," Canucks President and General Manager Mike Gillis said in a statement. "We expect a full recovery and determined this procedure would be serve both Ryan and the team's long term goals."
Gillis told the Vancouver Province that the club waited until late July for Kesler to have surgery because, "he was working on a program." The club and the medical experts were hoping that the program coupled with rest would help Kesler avoid the need for surgery.
Kesler had a similar operation midway in January 2007 and made it back 10 weeks later so he could start the playoffs. He broke his finger in the first game of the postseason and didn't play again until the start of the 2007-08 season.
"We could have got away with not having the procedure," Gillis told the Province. "However, there was a high likelihood of him having continued problems. That would lead eventually to him having to have some surgery. We decided it was best for all of us to get it done now."
Kesler will likely join his Mason Raymond in the press box to start the season.
Raymond suffered vertebrae compression fracture when he was driven backwards into the corner boards by Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk early in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He is expected to be sidelined until at least November.
The Canucks could choose to use rookie Cody Hodgson at the center position until Kesler returns. Hodgson got a taste of the NHL last season by scoring a goal and dishing out an assist in eight regular season games while also contributing one assist in 12 playoff games.
Kesler is coming off the best season of his career. He scored a career-high 41 goals and played in his first NHL All-Star Game. He was an early leader for the Conn Smythe Trophy after scoring 11 points in six games against Nashville in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl