The Flyers will likely be without one of their young forwards to start the season as Joel Farabee underwent successful disc replacement surgery in his cervical region on Friday morning. The expected recovery time is three to four months.
Farabee becomes just the third NHL player to undergo disc replacement surgery. Jack Eichel, the most notable case, was the first player to receive the surgery. His was most notable due to the fact that his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, would not allow him to have it. He was later traded to the Vegas Golden Knights and received the surgery in November. He returned to action in February, recording 25 points in 35 games.
Eichel paved the way for Tyler Johnson to then receive the same surgery three weeks after Eichel. It was an injury that he may have been suffering from since at least 2017. He returned in March and would record just five points in his remaining 18 games. It should be known, though, that the Blackhawks as a whole struggled during the year.
With a three to four month recovery for Farabee, that would put him at September 24th. That is expected to be in the middle of Flyers training camp. Having just signed a lengthy extension and the nature of the injury, the Flyers should be in no rush to get Farabee back on the ice. Looking back at Eichel’s case, he began to skate less than a month after surgery but wasn’t back for another two months after that.
So there could be a slight chance that Farabee ends up on the shorter end of recovery and could be ready for the start of the season. The difference between the two players was that the Golden Knights were battling for a playoff spot at the time of Eichel’s return. There is no reason to rush back for the start of the season in Farabee’s case.
With the Flyers looking to use this off-season as an aggressive retool, having one of their star players out for any period of time isn’t how they wanted things to go. Sean Coututier will be coming off of back surgery, Kevin Hayes had numerous surgeries in the last year, and Ryan Ellis’ status won’t be known until training camp.
This also puts into perspective the struggles that Farabee faced down the stretch. He had just two points in his final 14 games. He still finished third on the team in goals (17) and fourth on the team in points (34). He wasn’t far off of the career high numbers he had posted a season ago. Regardless of when Farabee first started to exhibit any symptoms, he and the Flyers will be hoping for a healthy recovery.