Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom told Finland television station MTV 3 recently that he had nerve damage in his right elbow and was unable to use his right hand while driving a car or holding a phone.
Backstrom, who had surgery on his elbow in May, said two of his fingers wouldn't move during a Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Backstrom, 37, has not played since Jan. 13 and was scratched from the second round, which Minnesota lost in four games.
"It was a bit scary situation," Backstrom told MTV 3's Timo Kunnari in comments translated by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Tuesday. "It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working. Even in rest, two fingers were motionless. I couldn't use my right hand to drive a car or to hold a phone. There's a lot of stuff that's happened during my career, but this really made me stop and think. You need your hand for the rest of your career. I'm right-handed."
The Wild planned on buying out Backstrom from the final year of his contract (two-thirds of his $4 million salary), according to Star Tribune reporter Michael Russo, but were unable to because he wasn't medically fit to play. Backstrom's agent, Jay Grossman, told Russo the goalie will not be cleared until at least training camp in September.
"We are moving forward step by step," Backstrom said. "It affects a bit on training. I haven't had a chance to play any sport with [a] stick or racquet, and it's going to take time until I'm ready to play."
Backstrom was 5-7-9 with a 3.05 goals-against average and .887 save percentage in 19 games last season. The Wild's all-time leader with 194 wins, he signed a three-year, $10.25 million contract in June 2013.
If Backstrom remains with Minnesota this season, he'll likely be the No. 3 goalie behind Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper. Dubnyk signed a six-year, $26 million contract with the Wild on July 4.