Craig Rivet hadn't even finished cleaning out his locker for this season when the Sabres' captain announced he'll miss the beginning of the next one.
Rivet has a double labrum tear in his left shoulder and will undergo surgery after another consultation with doctors, he told The News and a correspondent from the Olean Times Herald. The recovery time is four to six months, so the defenseman will not be available when the Sabres come to training camp in September for the 2010-11 season.
Rivet suffered the injury Nov. 29, 2008, when he was hit by Montreal's Guillaume Latendresse. He played just three games over the next five weeks in an attempt to heal the injury.
"I was stuck with this exact same decision last year," Rivet said of the surgery option. "Ultimately, I wanted to try and fight through the injury and not have the major surgery. The doctor said, 'It’s just going to be your decision because you’re going to have to deal with the pain and that type of thing.'
"The pain could be dealt with, but when I think it’s taking away from your game and how you want to play, I think right now we need to go the other route and make sure when I do come back next year I’m able to perform the way I should."
Rivet struggled this season, scoring just once while recording 14 assists and minus-6 rating. He had one goal and was plus-2 in the six-game playoff loss to Boston.
"The whole season I played with a brace that felt like a straitjacket," Rivet said. "I was never Nicklas Lidstrom to begin with, but I think I’m a better player than what I’ve shown. I think just throughout the season the wear and tear on it, the loss of strength, took away from a lot of the things I was able to do.
"I didn’t hurt it more. I didn’t make it worse. But due to wearing the brace, I just lost all the strength. When I came to training camp it was strong. I felt good. I was confident about coming into this season, and obviously it deteriorated pretty quickly once I started to play.
"It kind of feels like I’m giving you an excuse for my season, and I don’t think there is an excuse. I think I can be a lot better player."
The audio of the interview is below.
taggedNHL | Sabres