Flyers Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin accompanied Peter Forsberg to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Forsberg underwent surgery on his right ankle on Monday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. Below is a Q and A with McCrossin regarding the surgery.
How did it go today? Jim McCrossin: "Actually it went very well. Dr. Anderson came in about 20 minutes after 6:00 and he was very, very pleased with how the entire procedure went. Obviously Peter had to have some bones shifted in his foot to get proper alignment and that went very well. Then, he had the ligaments that he tore strengthened. Dr. Anderson couldn't have been more pleased."
How rare is this condition? "It's uncommon for hockey because of the stability in the skate boot. If you asked Dr. Anderson or Dr. Clanton, they would say that in professional basketball players with high arches it's common. In our sport, it's very uncommon. It's rare, but as I said it went very, very well and Dr. Anderson told me that Peter is just fine and his ankle is the way that he wants it now. It's straight."
How long before he can have the left ankle done? "He has to allow the bone to heal in the first operation on the right side so he can put some weight on it. Otherwise, he's wheelchair bound. The doctors don't want that to happen. The doctors want you up and moving about, so the second operation will take place in approximately six weeks, seven at the longest. The shortest amount would be about four weeks. It all depends on how quickly Peter's bones heal."
What is the overall timeline for Peter's recovery? "It's four weeks in a cast and four more weeks on crutches, and then four weeks on a walking boot. That's 12 weeks, or three months. With the six weeks (for the bone to heal), that's four and a half months right there plus rehab. Again, you have to make sure the bone is completely healed and the ligaments are strengthened up. The worst case scenario is the first of the year. Could it be before that? Yes, Peter is a good healer and you know Peter is going to work hard in rehab. The likelihood is it's going to be right after the first of the year."
Are you confident that Peter will be much better off than he was prior to the surgery? "I spoke with Peter about that. Not about our confidence, but we said, 'Peter, you're not going to know what to do with your new feet.' He said, 'yeah I know what I'm going to do. Jimmy, for the first time, and it will be seven years, I'll be skating the way I can skate. My foot is not going to be rolling up, and I'll be strong again.'
"I told Peter, throughout this whole season, I felt bad because there was nothing much we could do. We tried everything that we knew we could do and what the doctors suggested other than the surgery obviously until now, but like I've said, who wouldn't want to help Peter Forsberg? He's just going to be great with his ankles the way they should be and his feet in alignment and not rolling out to the outside of his ankles. Hopefully, this will eliminate or reduce the risk of any more groin or abdominal strains for this poor guy."
When is he expected to fly home? "Just to reduce the risk of infection, he may stay here an extra day or two."
Was there anything else done? "Yes, he had two bursas removed, one on the inside of the ankle and one on the outside."