Adam McQuaid of the Boston Bruins recently revealed that he went under the knife for surgery back in October to correct a problem with a blood clot under his collarbone.
He was skating with teammates at Harvard University in late September–not long after the NHL lockout began–when he said that his right arm just “blew up” and started a whole chain of issues requiring surgical intervention.
First, he needed to have surgery to remove the blood clot under his collar bone. Then, he had to have another procedure not long after the first to help prevent this from happening again.
To fix the issue, he had to have one of his ribs removed and some of his neck muscle taken out as well. What he had was thoracic outlet syndrome, which Dr. Wikipedia describes as “a syndrome involving compression at the superior thoracic outlet wherein excess pressure placed on a neurovascular bundle passing between the anterior scalene and middle scalene muscles.”
In layman’s terms: pain in and around the neck area.
Sometimes thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by whiplash related to head injuries, and can explain the neck injuries McQuaid had suffered a few different times before now, like during the 2011 quarterfinal series.
McQuaid is fine and recovering now in Boston. He said that he should have a full recovery. That recovery is bumpy at times, though, as he deals with weakness in his arm and the odd tingling sensation of his nerves healing. He did recently take to the ice again, but just to skate around a little bit. Basically, it’s baby steps for him.
He’s not allowed to get medical care from Bruins staff, though because of the lockout, since he was not placed on the injured reserve or long-term injured reserve before the lockout began. However, the NHLPA has been helping him with insurance to cover his medical bills.
This is an unusual surgery and so healing time is kind of hard to estimate. He hopes to be ready to go by mid-February. If–and this might be a big if–the lockout ends before then, there will be an opening for a defenseman on the lineup. Let’s assume Dougie Hamilton is going to take the spot vacated by Joe Corvo in the offseason because that’s basically what’s going to happen. That leaves guys like Torey Krug, Garnet Exelby, Matt Bartkowski and Colby Cohen, all in Providence right now, to possibly take McQuaid’s spot. Of those four, I’d be most willing to give Krug a look. He was very productive in college and recently scored his first pro goal. Sure, he’s a smaller d-man, but he has a good work ethic that surpasses his height.
McQuaid is spending a lot of time parked on the couch while his body heals. He regrets that there’s no NHL hockey on TV for him to watch in the meantime, and said that his teammates who are in Europe right now just want to come back as well.
Perhaps he will get his wish soon.