KIRKWOOD, Mo. – The St. Louis Blues and all of their fans are hoping for a quick recovery after star forward Vladimir Tarasenko had surgery Tuesday morning to repair his dislocated left shoulder.
It’s the second time he has dislocated that shoulder and needed surgery to fix it.
“This is a very serious injury with a lot riding on it,” said orthopedic surgeon Doctor Rick Lehman, US Center for Sports Medicine.
Tarasenko dislocated his left shoulder last Thursday as the Blues played the L.A. Kings at the Enterprise Center. It’s the same shoulder he also dislocated at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
It’s also been reported that Tarasenko battled through an injury to that same shoulder during the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
The Blues placed Tarasenko on long-term injured reserve on Monday.
“A second dislocation is very worrisome for any athlete, any sports doctor,” Lehman said.
Lehman speaks from 34 years of orthopedic surgeon experience.
He’s been the team doctor for three NHL teams, including the Blues back in the 90s, and is a regular guest on Fox 2 News in the Morning. He has performed some 1,500 surgeries for dislocated shoulders.
“Your chances of re-dislocating after the index surgery, the first surgery, are approximately eight to ten percent,” he said. “Your chances of re-dislocating after a second surgery go up to about 25 to 30 percent. So, his chances of his shoulder coming out again go up substantially.”
From looking at video of the play where Tarasenko was injured, you can see that it didn’t take a major collision to dislocate his shoulder again.
That is a red flag for Lehman.
“If it’s easy to come out, it’s easy to come out. And so, what makes you think it’s not going to come out again,” Lehman said.
Lehman says the injury is not career-threatening but he thinks it could affect Tarasenko’s future.
“He can come back and he can be a very, very good player. Can he be the same player before his dislocations? That’s hard because you lose a little bit of range of motion, you lose a little bit of strength,” he said.
Team officials say they are going to reevaluate Tarasenko in five months, which is right before the start of the playoffs.
“I would say, if I’m a betting man, he’s ready to rock in five months,” Lehman said. “I think he’ll be back in five months ready to play.”
“To say for sure he’s gonna be ready to go, no one could say that cause it depends on how he’s going to rehab, depends on how much damage his shoulder had, and how well it heals. It may not heal well, it may come out again in his rehab, there’s a lot of factors.”
Lehman says he is a big Blues fan. He has several pictures of him with the Stanley Cup after the Blues victory. And he’s rooting for the team to overcome this setback.
“You know what I’ve found in all these years of doing sports, NFL football, teams rally and I think they’ll rally around this,” he said.