Dean Evason was at the tail end of his hockey-playing career when he had a sports hernia operation to repair nagging groin injuries – the same procedure Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green is undergoing Tuesday afternoon in St. Louis.
Evason, now a Caps assistant coach, was in his mid-30s and playing in Europe when he went under the knife. Green is 26 and hopes to have a decade or more left in the NHL.
But Evason’s successful surgery and recovery is further evidence that Green might be able to shake this injury after being on the shelf for four to six more weeks and move forward without more problems.
“Recovery is basically three, three-and-a-half weeks. I was playing again in a month. It was great,” Evason said. “It takes a bit of time to strengthen back up your abs. But as far as coming back pain-free and stronger, a hundred percent.”
Evason, who was playing for Landshut EV of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany, couldn’t remember the exact timeline but pointed out he had the sports hernia operation over the Olympic break (which would have been February of 1998) and didn’t miss a game.
Groin injuries were a long time coming before he had the surgery.
“My whole career, I had pulls all the time and missed a few games here and there but mainly just played through and tried to strengthen as much as you can through the summer and through exercise, which everybody does with a lot of groin exercises,” Evason said. “Just through wear and tear and eventually had to have it done and just couldn’t play anymore.”
Evason couldn’t recall who performed the operation, but called her one of the foremost experts in Europe and someone who worked with soccer players for a long time. It was very possibly Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck, who has worked since 1989 to perfect sports hernia surgery techniques.
Evason only played a short period of time after the surgery but reported no further problems. With the amount he skates during and especially after practices, nothing either.
“I’ve never had a problem with it since,” Evason said. “Obviously it’s not at the level of what these guys are skating. I’ve never had an issue with it again.”