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Blackhawks' Hossa may have back surgery

by Brian Hedger /

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa played the final three games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final for the victorious Chicago Blackhawks with a disc issue in his back that caused one of his legs to go numb and severely hindered his skating.

Now, three days after hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons with the Blackhawks, Hossa -- a two-way star forward -- is facing possible back surgery to correct the issue.

Hossa, 34, was hurt late in Game 2 of the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins and missed Game 3. Hossa consulted regularly with Mike Gapski, the team's head athletic trainer. Thursday afternoon, Hossa was scheduled to meet with the team's top physician, Dr. Michel A. Terry, to discuss the situation and review MRI results.

"I just roughly talked to Mike Gapski and he kind of pointed out there's two options," said Hossa, who met with reporters Thursday at United Center. "I may need surgery or I may need another shot, so after this I'm going to talk to Dr. Terry and try to make the best decision we can. [It's] one of those two options."

Hossa's had an extensive list of injury issues to deal with in his 16-year NHL career, including a few major issues with the Blackhawks. He had shoulder surgery prior to joining the Blackhawks in 2009-10 and missed a large portion of his first season in Chicago. He then spent the bulk of the past off-season recovering from a severe concussion stemming from an illegal hit by Raffi Torres that knocked him out of Chicago's Western Conference Quarterfinals loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the third game.

Now he's facing possible back surgery after finishing fourth on the Blackhawks in scoring for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven goals and nine assists. Should he need surgery, Hossa might be at risk of missing the start of next season while recovering from it -- especially with the condensed summer experienced by the Stanley Cup champion.

Playing with the injury was difficult, to say the least. After missing Game 3, Hossa played the final three games and tallied just one assist on a power-play goal by Patrick Sharp in the third period of Game 4 at TD Garden. He said his leg went numb and made skating very difficult, especially keeping up with the fast pace in the playoffs.

"I don't know if I was too effective playing," Hossa said. "I was just limping on the ice and, to tell you the truth, I didn't have as much confidence because everybody around me was much faster and as soon as [I] got the puck, I wasn't too confident to do things I usually am able to do and that kind of frustrated me during those games. But the coaches told me ‘Just play your game defensively and that's going to help us,' so ... I tried to stick with that."

Was he concerned about potentially worsening the injury or even threatening his career by continuing to play?

"No, because I know [Dr. Terry]," Hossa said. "We talk about these things and I know they wouldn't put me in that type of situation ... when it comes to that point."

As for his travails along the way to the only two Stanley Cups he's won, Hossa said the pain has been worth it.

"Yeah, it is," he said, after letting out a small chuckle. "I know the health is so important for when you retire. You want to live a healthy life and try to not to be beat up as much. In those four years I've been here, we've got two Cups, which is amazing. That's why I signed to this organization. I believed in the group they had here and it's well worth it right now."

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