Puck Blog

Tim Taylor has begun the long road back

PuckAgency client and Tampa Bay Lightning captain Tim Taylor is over a month into his rehabilitation from hip resurfacing surgery. Tim is trying to become the first player in a contact sport to play following the procedure. Tim will be sharing his experiences with Tampa Tribune writer Erik Erlendsson over the course of the year.

Lightning Captain Taylor On Long Road Back

By ERIK ERLENDSSON, The Tampa Tribune
Published: October 16, 2007

Lightning captain and two-time Stanley Cup champion Tim Taylor underwent hip resurfacing surgery on his right hip Sept. 6 to repair a degenerative condition that plagued him for much of last season. The surgery was performed by Stephen Raterman at University Community Hospital, and Taylor has begun the rehabilitation process as he attempts to become the first player in a contact sport to play after the procedure.

In the weeks leading up to his surgery, the 13-year NHL veteran, who hopes to be back on the ice and in uniform in February, was told by the surgeon he’d be ready to get back on the golf course within a month of the procedure. That’s something Taylor quickly found out might have been a stretch of the truth as far as he was concerned.

In his first discussion, Taylor talks about why he didn’t feel like walking to the bathroom, let alone picking up a golf club, that his entire right leg was sore after the surgery, and what it was like trying to do normal things around the house.

It’s so tight in my right leg that, as I put my legs and feet together, the left leg is longer than the other one where they did the surgery. But it’s just because that hip is down lower on the right side and it’s just offset.

When Dr. Raterman did the surgery, and this is how he explained it to me after the fact: I was lying on the bed on my left hip, so that they can pull back the right leg and pull it up to my butt. As they pull it up to my butt he calls four guys in, he calls them his moving team, they come in and grab my leg and as hard as they can, they pop it over. The leg is already cut and the bone pops out and that’s the only way they can do it.

When they showed it on a clip on News Channel 8, you could only see one leg because my other leg was way over by my head. He asked me later if I was sore and I said, ‘Yeah, my whole leg, not just the one area.’ He told me that when he does it, it’s a procedure where they basically have to break my leg to pull the bone out, so the leg is basically somewhere else. They started it out at my rear, but they put it up near my head, pop it out and then it just lies there because there is no bone in it. It just lies there. The NHL Network was in there and they videotaped it and they asked me if I wanted a copy of it and I said, ‘No, no.’ I want to wait until I’m completely better before I see any of that.

Dr. Raterman was very positive and very encouraging to start moving and get going after the surgery. When he told me about the surgery and what was going to happen, he almost led me to believe that I would be out there wanting to golf and everything, and I almost felt like I was way behind because I had no desire whatsoever. I had a really hard time moving around and I thought when he did tell me that, that I would feel good after three or four days, and I didn’t feel very good at all.

I was petrified to get up and go to the bathroom. I was pretty sore. It was a long two weeks.

Moving around the house was a chore. To sit down on the toilet was torture to get down. And then it’s real embarrassing that you go to the bathroom or take a shower and you can’t put your own clothes on. My wife, Jodi, was gone and I had to ask my daughter to come and help me pull up my shorts because I couldn’t get them up. To lose that, I can’t imagine older people going through this because you lose a lot of your independence. That was the hardest thing for me was losing that.