Monday is a key day for Coyotes center Martin Hanzal
because that’s when he is slated to have his first follow-up consultation with the surgeon who operated on the herniated disk in his back on July 17.
If Dr. Robert Watkins likes what he sees and hears, Hanzal expects to be given permission to start exercising in another week or two. He is hoping to be ready to play when training camp opens in mid-September.
Hanzal said his injury is mysterious because it came out of the blue near the end of the IIHF World Championship in May.
“I really don’t know the exact moment I hurt myself,” Hanzal said. “I just woke up one day and I felt a real sharp pain in my leg (and lower back).”
Hoping the pain would be temporary, Hanzal played in the Czech Republic’s final game in the World Championship. He then was told to take it easy for a few weeks. He did, but his condition didn’t improve. That’s when it was decided that a consultation with Dr. Watkins, a widely known back specialist in Los Angeles, would be a wise move.
“We did an MRI and Dr. Watkins told me I needed the surgery for sure and I said ‘Ok, let’s do it as soon as possible,’ and that’s what we did,” Hanzal said.
Hanzal has spent the past week or so just getting back on his feet and walking gingerly.
“It’s very frustrating for me because I’d like to start working out right now,” said Hanzal, whom Dr. Watkins has instructed not to drive. “But I can’t really do anything except watch movies and hang out in my house.”
The Coyotes are expecting Hanzal, 21, to again make a significant contribution this season offensively and defensively. Last season, as a rookie, he notched eight goals and 27 assists, and played solid defense against key scorers.