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Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson will miss 3 months after undergoing neck surgery and defenseman Connor Murphy enters concussion protocol

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
 2021-12-03
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Chicago Blackhawks center Tyler Johnson (90) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman T.J. Brodie (78) skate for a loose puck in the second period at the United Center on Oct. 27, 2021. Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune

Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson underwent neck surgery Friday, the team announced.

“After trying to manage his neck pain conservatively for the past couple of weeks, Tyler underwent neck surgery today,” team physician Michael Terry said in a statement. “The prognosis is good and his anticipated return to play is approximately three months.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Connor Murphy entered concussion protocol a day after Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin checked him into the boards .

Johnson has played eight games for the Hawks but last played Oct. 29 against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was placed on long-term injured reserve Nov. 17.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Johnson had artificial disk-replacement surgery, the same procedure that Vegas Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel had last month.

The Knights traded for Eichel after an ongoing battle over his treatment with his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, who preferred fusion surgery.

Regarding Johnson’s situation, Blackhawks coach Derek King said that to his knowledge, “and I’m not a doctor, believe me, but they tried different procedures.

“It wasn’t getting what they out of them, so this was the next step. And they decided this is what was best for him and his career.”

As for Murphy, King said there’s no timetable for his return.

“Those are tough,” King said, referring to concussions. “It’s an individual thing. Some guys recover quicker than others, some guys it takes a little longer. It depends on how bad the concussion was.”

Murphy has averaged the second most minutes (21:44) among Hawks defensemen, trailing only Seth Jones.

Johnson also had played a significant amount in his short time, playing the bumper role on the power play.

“He was really good in that middle spot on the power play,” forward Patrick Kane said Friday. “Lot of speed in the neutral zone lineup too. ... That’s tough to hear, but hopefully he’ll get better soon.”

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