On Monday, Michael Leighton had successful surgery to repair a bulging disc in his back. In case you aren't familiar with the timeline on Leighton's injury, here it is: Leighton leaves a Saturday night game with "soreness" and will have an MRI the next day, when the team returns to Philadelphia. The MRI is conducted, but the results aren't revealed right away. On Monday afternoon, GM Paul Holmgren says Leighton will rest, but expects to be skating again on Thursday. The next day, we're told he will be out about a month with a bulging disc. Then, a week and a half later, we're told he needs to have surgery to repair the injury and will miss an additional 6-8 weeks.
At this point, Leighton isn't expected to play again until Thanksgiving at the earliest. Now, most people view this as minor news, especially with the recent play of rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. And really, if Leighton has to miss two months at the beginning of the season, the Flyers aren't going to be scrambling to replace him for a variety of reasons.
The problem, however, comes in the form of how the injury was disclosed, handled, and reported. Michael Leighton himself said that this injury has been nagging him since the playoffs. In announcing that Leighton would need to undergo surgery, both Michael Leighton and Paul Holmgren spoke to the media. The origins of the injury became clear.
"I first felt [the bulging disc] in playoffs last year,” Leighton said. “I gave it time to settle down, and obviously it was injured and it never really went away. So when I was working out in the summer and doing activities it was flaring up a little bit, but nothing to the point where it is now."
Leighton had this injury since May? That's before the Flyers decided to sign him to a two-year contract. Didn't the team undergo tests on him?
"I had some tests done and it wasn't very severe in the summer. At the start of training camp it was there, but it wasn't bothering me on the ice," Leighton said. So he did have tests done? But when in the summer were the tests done? According to Sam Carchidi, Leighton "passed a physical" before signing his contract.
But if Leighton was injured in May, and felt the injury in June, how was a physical passed before the end of June? Paul Holmgren, what say you?