Shane Prince will miss the next 4-6 months after undergoing ankle surgery. The New York Islanders have the depth to replace him.
The New York Islanders will be without one of their fastest players for the first four months or so of the 2017-18 season. Shane Prince, whose high ankle sprain last March never fully healed, will spend the next 4-to-6 months on the sidelines after undergoing ankle surgery.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) August 14, 2017
Prince suffered the injury against the Edmonton Oilers last March.
The Islanders confirmed the news on Monday afternoon, with the official release announcing that “At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Shane Prince returned home and continued the rehabilitation of his high ankle sprain injury.
“During the later stages of his rehabilitation, he began to have increasing discomfort that deterred his training process for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
“After notifying our medical staff he was referred to specialists, who after trying more conservative measures determined that it was in Shane’s best interest to have surgery. He has since had the surgery, is doing well and is expected to return to full activity in 4-6 months.”
The injured forward took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the ordeal. “Did my best to play through it last season and also let it heal this offseason,” Prince wrote, “but surgery was needed. I will be back healthy asap!”
— Shane Prince (@ShanePrince18) August 14, 2017
Prince, 24, tallied 5 goals and 13 assists in 50 games last season. He helped a mediocre offense with his speed and hockey sense but was limited in part because of his size. Standing just 5’11” and 185 pounds, the Rochester native often faces questions about his durability.
A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic sprain, is described as such because it’s located above the ankle. It comprises approximately 15 percent of all ankle sprains and is caused when the lower leg and foot externally rotates.
In general, most doctors recommend following the RICE technique for a full recovery: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Marqise Lee, a receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League, is one such athlete to currently be undergoing this form of treatment. He’s expected to return to the field after Week One.
But Prince’s ankle sprain never fully healed, and so he underwent surgery, which increases the time that he’ll spend sidelined. Luckily for him, if things go well, he should be fully recovered by March. Unluckily for him, he will have to spend the months before then away from the club.
This is a blow not only to Prince but to the team as a whole. General manager Garth Snow has constructed a roster that features a healthy amount of depth, but that isn’t particularly useful if that depth can’t stay on the ice.
On the bright side, the logjam at forward has been loosened. We discussed ad nauseam how the Isles have too many forwards for too few spots, so this should help clarify that, and perhaps even give a prospect the chance to make the team.
Either way, it’s of paramount importance to understand that Prince’s woes are serious, but recoverable from. It will be up to the other guys—like Josh Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal—to make up for the lost production. If that happens, the Islanders could return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season.