Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien could need upwards of four months to recover from ankle surgery which took place last week in Minnesota, according to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger.
TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported Wednesday that Byfuglien recently underwent ankle surgery to take care of issues from the high-ankle sprain he suffered late last season. He added that "it's certainly premature to say Byfuglien will return to active duty in the NHL this season but there is a sense if he does feel healthy again, he may be inclined to return at some point."
McKenzie added that it's believed one of the big factors why Byfuglien opted not to play this season is because his ankle was so troublesome.
According to TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger, Byfuglien's agent, Ben Hankinson, is in discussions with the NHLPA reviewing the case. If it's determined Byfuglien hurt his ankle playing hockey, the financial side of the matter could get complicated.
The Jets gave the 34-year-old an indefinite personal leave of absence before being suspended by the team for not returning to training camp.
"There's not much that I can really enlighten you with more than what's already out there," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff told reporters on Thursday. "Going back to the start of training camp - that's when I met with Dustin and those are all pretty well documented.
"Obviously over the course of time, he's had ankle surgery now and we're dealing with that. We're in constant conversations with his agents and that's where we're at."
Byfuglien had four goals and 27 assists in 42 games last season. He missed significant time after suffering a lower-body injury in December and appeared in just 10 games games after Dec. 29. Byfuglien returned ahead of the postseason and recorded two goals and eight points in six playoff games.
An eighth-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2003, Byfuglien is a veteran of 869 career NHL games and has 177 goals and 525 points in his career.
He is signed through next season at a cap hit of $7.6 million.