The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting that Michael Nylander's career is potentially in jeopardy as the veteran centre is set to undergo surgery Monday after injuring a vertebra in his neck on Saturday.
The 38-year old Nylander, who has been loaned to the Rochester Americans of the AHL by the Washington Capitals, suffered the injury when he was hit from behind by Grand Rapids Griffins' defenceman Brendan Smith. He fell awkwardly head first into the boards and headed immediately to the bench and then quickly the dressing room. He was later taken to a local hospital.
The rehabilitation process is expected to take a minimum of six months meaning that Nylander will be almost 40-years old before he is able to return to the game.
"He'll definitely have to do some soul-searching when he has recovered," Americans head coach Chuck Weber told the Democrat and Chronicle. "The little bit I do know him, I don't think this is the way he'll want to go out."
Nylander is in the final season of a four year deal with the Caps that will see him earn $3 million this season. The Florida Panthers, who are the parent team of the Americans, will pay the Capitals $100,000 for Nylander to play for Rochester this season.
In 19 NHL seasons split between Whalers, Flames, Lightning, Blackhawks, Rangers, Bruins and Capitals, the Stockholm native has 209 goals and 470 assists in 920 career games.
In seven games with the Amerks this season, he has four goals and two assists.