Brian MacLellan met with local media Friday, hosting a luncheon in a conference room of MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
During his talk with reporters, the Capitals GM revealed that Christian Djoos had compartment syndrome in his thigh, necessitating, what appears to be, emergency surgery. The recovery time is unknown and Djoos may need months to recover. Todd Reirden previously said the injury would keep Djoos out “a substantial amount of weeks.”
The Swedish defenseman suffered the thigh injury after absorbing a hit to his thigh against the Detroit Red Wings on December 11.
NBC Sports Washington’s Brian McNally reported the news in an article Friday.
Djoos suffered complications called compartment syndrome and needed surgery to relieve the pressure of blood filling up in his quadriceps muscle. He has missed 12 games so far in an injury that is expected to take weeks, if not months, to recover from.
Compartment syndrome can be a scary injury.
The muscles swell up but can't expand b.c of the skin. If not treated, you can lose the limb. Treatment is basically cutting the skin open.
— Dr. Jen Golbeck (@jengolbeck) May 20, 2017
Here’s more info from RMNB Crasher Lindsey, who is a doctor in England.
Compartment syndrome can be broken down into two categories: acute and chronic.
It most commonly occurs in the limbs where our muscle groups are divided into compartments (hence the name). The symptoms include pain, which can be very severe, paleness of skin, and pins and needles or tingling.
Acute compartment syndrome is a medical/surgical emergency and is usually the result of a severe injury that causes hemorrhage or extreme swelling. It’s an emergency because what is happening is that there is a rapid increase in pressure, within a muscle compartment, and there is no way of releasing it – this is because muscle compartments are enclosed by skin and/or bone and/or fascia, which is a particularly sturdy type of connective tissue.
If the swelling/hemorrhage continues, without the pressure being released, important structures are compressed, such as major nerves and major blood vessels. If this continues, the complications can be catastrophic and lead to loss of limb. (Indeed, if the compartment syndrome remains undiagnosed/untreated and the muscle begins to break down, the complications are even worse and included rhabdomyolysis, which can cause acute kidney failure.)
So what a surgeon has to do is really quite basic (but very important, of course): they have to release the pressure by incising into the compartment (avoiding the major/important structures). This wound is generally left open for a few days to allow for the swelling to decrease.
Healing can take a while because the muscle needs to heal – and for an ice hockey player for whom ‘lower body strength’ is not just a euphemism, it’s incredibly important that the rehabilitation is thorough.
MacLellan went on to say that Djoos has begun off-ice workouts. According to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Djoos will return to the ice next week.
Caps GM Brian MacLellan had midseason media availability today. No earth-shattering news, but some items:
Djoos will begin skating lightly in next week and they'll have a better idea of a timeline in about two weeks.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 11, 2019
One of the most recent cases of compartment syndrome involved Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen. Johansen suffered the injury in the 2017 playoffs and missed the Stanley Cup Final. He made a full recovery and returned healthy the next season.
In 28 games this season, Djoos, a third pairing defenseman, had four assists.
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