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TIM CONNOLLY'S SEASON TO END WITH SURGERY ON MONDAY

Friday, 03.21.2008 / 5:30 PM / News
By Brian Wheeler  - Sabres.com
[Updated: March 21, 2008 at 10:59 p.m.]

Tim Connolly's 2007-08 season is over. 

Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced Friday prior to Buffalo's match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs that the talented pivot will have season-ending surgery to repair the very painful bone spur in his hip on Monday.

Connolly intended to undergo the procedure following the season and was attempting to battle through the pain.  He finally just couldn't bear the pain any longer.

"Really, it [the decision to have the surgery] was about his ability to maintain a high level of pain threshold as well as recover in the off days," said general manager Darcy Regier. "It was a combination of the time it took to recover, his inability to practice in between games and a rising level of pain."

Connolly worked until his breaking point.  By the end, he was unable to perform at a high level on the ice.

"It's gotten to the point where I can't recover at all, pain-wise," said Connolly.  "It's constant pain day and night.  The doctors and the specialists here recommended that I have it done because they knew there was the potential to make it a lot worse."

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Listen to Connolly and the Sabres management talk about the season-ending surgery.

Connolly Interview 
Regier Interview 
Ruff Interview 
Following this weekend, Connolly will travel to Vail, Colorado to have the procedure, which will abruptly end a year that saw the Syracuse, N.Y. native total seven goals and 40 points in 48 games.

"He gave it his best shot," said head coach Lindy Ruff of Connolly's efforts.  "He was playing with a lot of pain and I think you saw his first two or three games that he played were probably his best games."

Ruff and the Sabres training staff did all they could to keep the center game ready.  Connolly was placed on restrictive duty, held out of back-to-back games, and didn't practice between starts.

The special treatment only prolonged the inevitable.

"[The recovery time] really depends on what they find when they go in," said Connolly.  "As of right now, it's usually a 10-week recovery period before you can get into hard skating and whatnot."

The bone spur was just one of three ailments that forced the center to miss a total 26 games this season: abdominal strain (5); flu (2); and groin/hip (19).  Connolly last suited up for the Sabres on Mar. 10 against the New York Rangers.

In his past three NHL seasons, Connolly has missed 127 of a possible 246 games due to injury.

"We could certainly use him," said Regier.  "But I think [the surgery] is what's best for him and what's best for the organization.

"Looking forward, we're hopeful that we'll have him at the start of next year."

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