After several months of playing through a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum in his left shoulder, Islanders captain Doug Weight has decided to shut it down and undergo surgery this week.
The 39-year old veteran, who suffered the injury back in November, said he doesn't regret his decision to battle through the pain, but that he's finally ready to resolve the problem.
"I'm relieved I'm doing it," Weight said during the Islanders' morning skate Saturday. "I don't want to feel this anymore. It's going to be a tough process but I'm ready to tackle it."
Weight, who had 1 goal and 16 assists in 36 games for the Islanders this season, said the pain was impacting his performance and inhibiting his ability to contribute in the way he desired.
"It's not the type of hockey I wanted to play. I couldn't finish a check, I couldn't take a check, I couldn't handle the puck, I couldn't shoot the puck with velocity I was used to" Weight said. "I was spending 80% of my shift positioning myself so I didn't blow my shoulder out."
Weight said surgery was imminent regardless of whether he tried to play this season, but that he wanted to at least make an attempt to lead the team.
"Especially being 39, I felt like if I could come back and rehab as hard as i could and contribute to a team that might make the playoffs, I would like to play in the playoffs."
Islanders coach Scott Gordon said Weight's toughness was an example to all.
"If it were any other player, he would've gotten surgery in January...he gave it his best shot."
Teammate and tenant Matt Moulson said it was difficult for everyone on the team to see the amount of pain he was forced to endure on a daily basis.
"Even putting the jersey was tough for him," Moulson said. "To see a guy like that, his love for the team and game, it's tough. We'll definitely miss him."
Weight, who has amassed 1,024 points since coming into the league in 1991, said that if Thursday was his last game he has no regrets, but that he'll rehab aggressively in an attempt to provide him the opportunity to return to the NHL if that is what route he decides to take.
"It's pretty invasive surgery and I'm going to approach it with the aspirations of still playing hockey. I've still got the fire in my stomach when I hit the ice. My legs still feel strong, I feel strong on the puck. The rest will be written in the summer. I'll approach it to come back with 100% aggression. I don't know if that will be with the Islanders or not. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
Weight, who will undergo surgery Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic, said he's looking forward to the mental and physical relief the surgery and rest will bring.
"I'm not trying to say it was heroic by any stretch of the imagination, but it was frustrating."