Tim Connolly's luck hasn't gotten much better this season. Missing the majority of two seasons in the past with concussion issues, Connolly will now be forced to fight a daily battle with pain for the remainder of the season.
"Tim's was diagnosed with a bone spur and it's not really related to the groin," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "It's going to be something that he's going to battle through for the rest of the year."
Bone spurs are bony pieces that form along joints and cause pain or discomfort. In Connolly's case, the spur formed near his hip.
According to WebMD.com, "a bone spur forms as the body tries to repair itself by building extra bone. It generally forms in response to pressure, rubbing or stress that continues over a long period of time."
Ruff said that all indications lead to Connolly having the spur removed after the season.
"There's nothing you can really do about it except take it day by day," said Connolly. "I just have to get out on the ice and see how far I can push it."
No timetable was given for Connolly's return but Ruff was hopeful that it may take less than half a dozen practices for the center to regain active duty status.
"He hasn't had a lot of practice time, so for us, it's getting him back up and running again," said Ruff. "It's getting him in three or four good practices and he'll be ready to play."
The talented pivot said the recovery process would be an ongoing affair; one that would play itself out over time.
"All you can do is get what work you can," said Connolly of his recovery. "Get in, get off, get proper treatment and just deal with it.
"You just have to see if the hip joint holds up. If it holds up, I can deal with the pain and it's not a problem. It's not something that can get worse."
Since the 2003-04 season, Connolly has missed 195 out of a possible 328 games due to injury. This season, an abdominal strain, flu symptoms and the current groin injury have held the Syracuse, N.Y. native to miss 14 starts.
"It's extremely frustrating, that's the hardest part," said Connolly. "It's mentally challenging whenever you get injured and whenever you miss a game."
Mike Ryan's eye injury has healed, allowing the center to in his first full skate since the injury. Ryan missed the last three games after being inadvertently struck in the face with the butt end of Colin Stuart's stick at the end of Buffalo's 10-1 victory over Atlanta.
"I thought of all the guys, he was flying out there," said Ruff of Ryan's effort in practice. "He's happy to be back and he's cleared to play."