Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney underwent successful surgery today to correct a chronic condition in his left foot, it was announced by Penguins Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero. The surgery took place in Charlotte N.C. and was performed by Dr. Robert R. Anderson.
The recovery period is 3-5 months, which means Whitney will miss the start of the 2008-09 season.
“Ryan has been bothered by this condition in his foot for some time,” Shero said. “He consulted with a number of specialists in an effort to correct the problem without surgery, but it was ultimately determined that surgery was the best path to take – for his general well-being, and for his career.
“Obviously, he will miss the start of the 2008-09 season, but the doctors tell us he will be able to play pain-free when he returns to the lineup this season.”
Even without Whitney at the start, the Penguins return seven defensemen from the 2007-08 team that won division and conference championships and advanced to the Stanley Cup finals: Sergei Gonchar, Brooks Orpik
, Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi, Kris Letang
, Darryl Sydor and Mark Eaton. In addition, prospect Alex Goligoski, who had a strong season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL, will come to training camp in September with a chance to compete for a spot in the lineup.
“Ryan got a lot of ice time for us, so this will create an opportunity for another player or players to step up and fill the void until he returns,” Shero said.
Whitney, 25, scored 12 goals and added 28 assists for 40 points in 76 games during the 2007-08 regular season and chipped in 1 goal and 5 assists for 6 points in 20 games during the Penguins’ playoff run. In 225 career regular season games with the Penguins, Whitney has registered 32 goals, 105 assists and 137 points.
The 6-foot-4, 219-pound native of Boston was the Penguins’ first-round choice, fifth overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.