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Mark Stone “Had An Apparatus Attached To His Spine” In January 2023 Back Surgery

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

While the world patiently awaits more information on the status of Mark Stone’s lacerated spleen which has him scheduled to miss the rest of the regular season and potentially a portion of the playoffs, some more details have surfaced about the previous injury suffered by Stone.

During one of his many post-deadline interviews, general manager Kelly McCrimmon dropped a new nugget of information on the captain’s ailments.

Mark’s back surgery wasn’t routine if there is such a thing as routine back surgery. He had an apparatus attached to his spine and everything else, and it was a little bit unsure what his future might be. –Kelly McCrimmon to The Athletic

The surgery McCrimmon is referring to is the second of Stone’s two back procedures in eight months from May 2022 to January 2023. The first was described by the Golden Knights as a lumbar discectomy performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. The second, in which Stone “had an apparatus attached to his spine” occurred in January 2023 in Denver by Dr. Chad Prusmack.

The first surgery, the lumbar discectomy, involved removing a part of the disc from his back after it was injured and began to pinch an adjacent nerve. The second one appears to be more the addition of an implant or device or “apparatus.” Somewhat the opposite of the removal he had previously had. Adding such an apparatus was likely intended to reduce the pain of the herniated disc. -Dr. Caleb Pinegar, Crovetti Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Dr. Pinegar says there are a few options that come to mind, but the use of them in athletes are not very commonly reported.

They are devices for the lumbar spine where they put in these little spacers that increase the space for the nerve so the nerve is not being pinched in that area. They used to be done a fair bit but then they went through a phase where they were having to be removed so they kind of stopped being popular. Another is an injection designed to fill the space where the portion of the disc has been removed in order to restore that support. And another one is a spinal cord stimulator, which is basically an implantable TENS unit. And by implantable it means there’s a battery that they stick in the fat of your butt, and that battery controls a wire that is tunneled up under your skin. That wire then inserts so it lays right on your spinal cord and it sends a low voltage signal to distract your pain. There are not a lot of reports of any of these being used in high-performance athletes. So that would be very interesting! -Dr. Pinegar, Crovetti Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

Dr. Pinegar believes it may be an innovative new procedure performed by the same doctor who operated on Jack Eichel’s neck. Dr. Prusmack lists “Research and Development of Minimally Invasive Spine Equipment” on his website as a special interest, indicating he’s likely at the cutting edge of technology to help patients like Stone.

Nonetheless, whatever was done obviously worked. Stone returned to action in less than three months, played 22 consecutive playoff games including scoring a hat trick in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, and then played every game of this year’s regular season before going out with the spleen injury. It’s yet another example of Mark Stone’s incredible dedication to the sport he loves and Dr. Prusmack’s brilliance in helping two of Vegas’ most important players return to the ice after injuries that used to derail careers.

**Thanks again to Dr. Pinegar for sharing his expertise on injury situations surrounding the Golden Knights. Dr. Pinegar is a physician with Crovetti Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine located in Henderson and Summerlin. Read more about him and the practice here.**

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24 Comments

  1. David T

    I feel his pain. I had 2 spinal surgeries in a 5 month period, 2014 and 2015. Tried therapy. It didn’t work. Ended up with “foot drop”. I now have permanent nerve damage in my right leg. After therapy failed and the sciatica kicked in, I had 2 epidurals and 2 more again, 2 weeks later, to kill the unbearable pain. They then opened me up and shaved my L3/L4 and L4/L5 disc’s to get them off my sciatic nerve. Went back into therapy and the therapist did a deep tissue massage and fractured a Pars bone (non displaced fracture). I couldn’t Sue them because workman’s comp and the doctors protect each other. So I went back under the knife and they removed my L4/L5 disc. Fused it, put in 4 screws, brackets and a wedge. They also did a bone graft from a cadaver on the fracture. I have never been the same. I turned down the pain pills as part of the settlement because I was already addicted to what I was on, so I quit cold Turkey. Rough. Quit drinking too. I figured I’d kill 2 birds with one stone. That will be 9 years ago, come April 22nd that I had the 2nd surgery. It will be 9 years drug and alcohol free came May 22. So, yes, I feel Matks pain. Personally, he should retire, or risk spending his Golden years in extreme pain. I know, because I hurt everyday.

    • Stu Cohen

      Sorry you went thru that.

      I was badly injured in the military 24 years ago and I’ve never been the same since.
      Couldn’t walk right for 2 years, I was 28 when it happened. Have since had 23 surgeries on back,
      Hips, knees, and shoulders.
      I am in pain everyday.

      Truth is the team is not the same and even if they manage to grab last playoff spot will not last long.
      Hill looks terrible, so little cohesiveness out there and it’s hard to watch.
      Marchy and Karlson are doing all they can but it’s not enough.
      Stone is an undeniable leader but 3 years in a row has missed 25+ games. Highest salary on team. I don’t want him to ruin his life with further injury.
      He would make an excellent coach.
      1 month left in the season and they have exactly 1 2 game winning streak in so long.
      Something drastic has to happen. Don’t envy these decisions.

      • TS

        Stu, a lifetime of surgery and pain is a huge price to pay for your service. So sorry for it. And I bitch when my hips hurt– I will NOT whine as much, after seeing your story.

    • TS

      David, omg. You have endured immeasurable pain! I applaud your courage to not only face these multiple surgeries, but also to reject the addictive painkillers! My ex had double bypass heart surgery, then spent 2 lo g years addicted to Oxycodone..Doc kept renewing g his script, although the heart had healed after a few months. I wanted to s
      Report the doc , but just moved on. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Rashaad

    David T, thank you for sharing that. I’m very lucky to have avoided serious injury and I work in construction. I know many people with back issues. Congratulations on getting over addictions also.

    Maybe Mark Stone will retire before his contract expires. The spleen thing is totally unrelated thankfully. Mark Stone has access to much better doctors then you probably had.

  3. I appreciate the input that was provided, and sorry you had to deal with and endure so much through the years.

    While it’s probably true the Captain is being provided the best treatment currently available, the cumulative effect and his age are detriments to fulfilling his contract. He is an athlete and the ultimate competitor, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to walk away.

    I’m reminded of a long ago Raiders player named Jim Otto who endured many knee injuries, and was essentially told when his career was over he would be a ‘cripple’, but his competitiveness wouldn’t let him walk away, and the predictions for him came true.

    I hope to see a healthy Captain back for the playoffs and in the future, but having said that, from a long term prospective it might not be the worst thing if he opted to retire and free up all that cap space money… just saying.

    • Larry – it might not matter one way or another – the way they are currently playing they very well could be out of the playoff picture all together. Those behind are winning and Vegas continues to underperform. Might be early golf for the boys.

  4. HD, I’m still trying to keep the faith, keep the candle burning in the window.

    Here’s the thing, we play the devils tomorrow who are on a back-to-back, effectively out of the playoff race, much like the flames were on Thursday, there can be no excuses tolerated should we come out flat, play lethargically and watch another barely .500 team completely outplay us!

    If we can actually play one solid and complete game, I will see the light at the end of the tunnel, I really and truly wish to see that light!!

  5. I actually forgot to include that in my post as yet another reason that we have to perform.

  6. Tim

    Bill Foley and management has done everything asked of them but they can’t play the game. The motivation isn’t there be it the coaches message isn’t getting through to the players or they don’t respect Cassidy. No sure what’s wrong but from late November until now we just haven’t looked right. This is a pattern not merely a slump and that’s what scares me. Sorry about Stone he may be done and were going to miss his energy but his body is giving out. New Jersey tomorrow another team not making the playoffs that I’m not sure we can beat. Like everyone is beginning to realize if they don’t want it oh well not much we can do about it. I’ve got baseball to look forward to hopefully you have another outlet that gives you pleasure because the Knights surely aren’t fun to watch.

  7. JB

    Well today vs Devils will show if the boys want it or not. I’m not going to worry about it. Either they play all out or they don’t. I still believe! We’ll see.

  8. Rashaad

    Mark Stone is out but he was out last year and they went 22-4-5 down the stretch without him. Martinez is out but Hanifin is a better replacement. The defence that was the envy of the league last year is healthy right now. Eichel, Dorofeyev, Carrier, Howden are all back. Mason Morelli, Byron Froese, Brendan Brisson and Sheldon Rempal are all back where they belong in the AHL. New Jersey is the 24th place team in the league and are playing today on a second of a back to back. This game is also at T-Mobile Arena.

    Please somebody tell me how they can possibly lose this game today or even get out worked. Please give me one reason and it’s going to have to be better than something like the new guys are getting acclimated to the lineup because if adding players makes us worse than what’s the point of even dressing Tomas Hertl.

    They better make a statement today and I don’t just mean winning by the skin of their teeth like they did against Detroit and Seattle, I’m talking about an actual “real” win. Sometimes you can get goalied but New Jersey has the worst goalies in the league.

    Seriously, i’d like anybody to tell me how they shouldn’t win today. Anyone! Beuler Beuler

    • TS

      Rashaad, I went to practice yesterday. Parking lot looked empty, a d I feared the arena would be empty, too. But the REAL fans were there, good sized crowd. Players no doubt appreciated fans being there, with a poor showing last game. The guys practiced hard, in good spirits…today is crucial.

    • Rashaad, agree agree agree, as Ive stated in my posts we are in agreement about the current state of affairs and the immediate future ahead.

      I just looked t the standings, and while it appears teams are right behind us, we have games in hand on all, and if we finally take care of business as we need to, those trailers will be just that….TRAILERS! If we dont, then they deserve whatever fate that they earned by lack of drive and determination.

      On a totally separate note, I have exceedingly grudgingly become an oilers fan, as i would like to see them overtake the canucks so we dont have to face them in the first round, and we can wait till later in the playoffs to send them home packing yet again!!!

  9. Vic

    Saw the final period of Edm vs Col Saturday and it was intense playoff desperation type action with speed, hits, saves and net crashing. All the NJ coach has to do today is put the more unknown goalie in there, and the VGK will have problems. Time to wake up or go away.

  10. Rashaad

    They better win because nobody here can come up with any sensible reason why they shouldn’t win today.

  11. Guess I was wrong about ever seeing Martinez in a regular season VGK uniform….even if it is grey with the hideous gold buckets…lol!!!

  12. knights fan in minny

    hague and cloudy riding the pine injured or what

  13. Keith

    Well blessings to stone and I hope he chooses good health over the money of continuing to play and risk paralysis. I have his jersey and wear it to the games. These are lessons this year for the team. Go from first to worst in a season. Play for 60 min every game, set your young egos aside and do your job or lose, it takes a team, ugly goals win and lose games, shoot the puck, deal with the injured players together- everyone must step it up every game. Win or lose – Go Knights Go !!! God bless stone with a recovery and good decision making… thanks to the team captain.

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