The Penguins came out with some news on Tuesday night about forward Jason Zucker. He had undergone surgery to repair a core muscle injury.
Jason Zucker underwent a successful core muscle injury repair today.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 25, 2022
Zucker will be sidelined on a week-to-week basis. The team will have a more accurate timeframe for his recovery in the coming days.
Details: https://t.co/BLeXYsY5GY pic.twitter.com/Ma9eN8QB5U
This has been a nagging issue for Zucker for a while, he didn’t practice with the team on several occasions in mid-December but was still answering the bell for games, including last playing on December 19th against New Jersey in what ended up being the Penguins’ final game before postponement lengthened their Christmas break.
When the team returned after Christmas, coach Mike Sullivan announced Zucker would be out on a “week-to-week” basis stating, “He’s been dealing with a nagging injury in his lower body.”
Zucker returned to practice and eventually worked back into the lineup on January 17th, scoring two goals against Vegas in what looks to be a triumphant return. He even would practice with the team on Jan. 19th, but the plug was soon pulled with Zucker returning to IR with what Sullivan termed a “re-aggravation” of his prior issue.
Aside from knowing it was a core problem, the Penguins have termed it a week-to-week absence now, though leaving some wiggle room for the future. “Core muscle surgeries” can be, but aren’t necessarily just, what some call a sports hernia (which isn’t even technically an actual hernia at all, but that’s a different story). In 2019 the Pens had two such surgeries, with Zach Trotman being cleared in a little over five weeks from one type of core muscle surgery.
A second player, Sidney Crosby, also had a “core muscle surgery” in mid-November 2019 and was out of game action for nearly two months until January 14th, 2020.
The Penguins may give an update with more information, but it will likely be quite a while until Zucker is able to play again if his recovery timetable is on the Trotman or Crosby path, or perhaps somewhere in between, but either way looks well within the three months that the NHL regular season is set to last.