Gaborik revealed Friday that he suffered a torn rotator cuff around the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and aggravated the injury further in the first-round matchup against Ottawa. He made the announcement six days after the top-seeded Rangers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games by the New Jersey Devils.
Gaborik finished with just five goals and 11 points in 20 playoff games.
Gaborik said an MRI examination showed the torn rotator cuff and that surgery would be necessary.
"Obviously, I'm frustrated," he said during a late-afternoon conference call. "I knew I wasn't OK, but I was hoping for better answers from doctors. It's frustrating, but it is what it is. Now I just have to focus on getting back.
Gaborik returned to Slovakia on Thursday for a couple of days. On Tuesday, he will fly back to New York, where he will undergo surgery Wednesday. After that, his return date remains undetermined -- he originally said he expected to miss "five or six months," but added later that "I'm going to try to be back before."
The Slovak forward scored 41 goals during the regular season, finishing third in the League behind Steven Stamkos (60) and Evgeni Malkin (50). He played all 82 games and scored 76 points, the third-best total of his career. However, his offensive production slowed dramatically in the playoffs. A lack of production from Gaborik was one reason this season's great ride for the Rangers ended in the Eastern Conference Finals.
"I think it was Game 3 [vs. Ottawa]," he said when asked if he knew when the injury occurred. "I went into the boards behind the net shoulder-first. I think it was Game 3 or Game 4. I just tried to take care of it as much as I could.
"I don't try to think about it. I try to play according to the situation. I don't want to make excuses.
Despite not reaching the Stanley Cup Final, Gaborik considered this season a success. The Rangers dominated in the East for almost the entire regular season and went to their first conference finals since the 1996-97 season.
"We have a good year behind us, even though it was tough to deal with the loss in the last game, especially after overtime. It's still very hard," he told reporters. "The season started very well for us, we just did not finish it as we wanted. But we have a team full of young and skilled players, which makes us look very optimistic to the future."
Barring unforeseen developments in his rehab, the 30-year-old Gaborik is all but assured of missing the start of the 2012-13 season, the penultimate year of his contract.
"I hope the recovery will be going on as expected," Gaborik said. "I don't know if I could be back there for the start of the next season."
Gaborik has played 722 games in the NHL and with 647 points is now second among active Slovak players behind the Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa (904).