NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber had surgery after he sustained a dislocated kneecap in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Weber took a hit from Chicago forward Brandon Saad behind the Nashville net and struggled to get back to the bench. Weber said he knew right away that something was wrong.
"I felt something kind of pop a little bit, snap I guess," Weber said. "It was my kneecap that kind of subluxed, so I just felt that come across. I didn't know at the time exactly what it was, but I knew that's not good, that shouldn't happen. I tried to stand on it. Obviously, it was pretty bad pain in the knee."
Weber said he wasn't able to stand on the injured knee when he got to the Predators dressing room. Though he didn't know the nature or severity of the injury right away, his mind started racing about what it could be.
"It was painful," Weber said. "I can't really compare, I've had some really painful stuff. It was just weird, I think, because I just knew something was wrong with my knee and I couldn't stand on it. You don't want to jump to conclusions, but right away a million thoughts start going through your mind, especially Game 2 of the playoffs.
"You play all year to get to the best time of the year, which is the playoffs, and now you're like, 'Geez am I done? Am I going to keep playing?' You try and stand on it in the locker room, and you can't. It's just like you never know. There's just a million things you think about."
The recovery time for the dislocated kneecap is 4-6 weeks. Weber, who had surgery last week, was on crutches when he addressed the media Monday. His focus right now is on following the protocol and starting his road to recovery.
"There's obviously a protocol I've got to follow over the next 4-6 weeks, trying to get my knee back to where it needs to be for my summer training," Weber said. "I'm going to focus on that right now, work hard and be stronger than I was last year."
Weber said there wasn't anything particularly bad or different about the hit by Saad, and that's what made the injury more frustrating for him.
"It was a harmless hit," Weber said. "Like you get hit way harder than that, and stuff doesn't happen. That's just the flukiness of it, I guess, and that's what makes it even harder, I think. I'd rather get ran and get hurt than just a fluky little thing where his leg kind of hit the side of my knee or whatever."
Chicago won the series in six games without Weber in the lineup for Nashville for Games 3-6. Defenseman Seth Jones took Weber's place on Nashville's top defense pairing alongside Roman Josi. Weber kept in contact with the players but said one of the worst parts about being injured is watching the games from afar.
"That's one of the hardest things when you get injured, is you almost feel like you're not a part of the team," Weber said. "You're not out there, you're not fighting with those guys, so it's almost like a separation.
"I tried to stay as attached as I could with the guys, talking to them and being in the locker room after Game 5. Just trying to offer as much encouragement and help and experience that I could for some of the young guys."
Despite a disappointing end to the season, Weber feels there were a lot of positives to take away from it. The Predators spent a significant portion of the season atop the Central Division standings after missing the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons, and many of the core players are young.
"There was a lot of positives this year," Weber said. "We did some really good things. I think just the end result is the tough part. Right now it's like there's no satisfaction. You're not fulfilled at all because it just feels empty right now, but I think when you go back home, when guys go back to Sweden, Finland, to their homes, you've just got to reflect on things. I think we'll realize we did a lot of good things, we took steps and we've just got to keep doing it."