Spezza plans to push rehab

Jason Spezza talks about his back disc surgery and rehabilitation.

Jason Spezza is on the rebound from back surgery and said he hopes to return in time for the end of the regular season. Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images.

As disappointing as the decision was to make, Jason Spezza insists there really was no other option than to have back disc surgery a week ago Friday.

He began feeling pain late in training camp. Once the season started, the pain escalated game by game.

He was experiencing so much discomfort he could barely sleep. Once the pain extended to his leg and he began to fill numbness during a Jan. 27 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Spezza realized he could no longer put off the inevitable.

He consulted with the Senators medical staff and other experts and the universal opinion was that he would once again have to go under the knife.

“It was really bad,” Spezza said Friday, speaking publicly for the first time since the surgery. “It got to the point where there was no way I was going to be able to play. There wasn’t really much of an option, once we got down to it.”

Once he had the surgery, there was “instant relief,” but the hard work of rehabilitation won’t start for a week or two. Spezza is aiming to return before the end of the regular season — the recovery time is generally between six and eight weeks — but he’s also going to be careful.

“You always aim to push the rehab and try to be more aggressive with things, but also Gerry (Townend, Senators head athletic therapist) has already talked to me about making sure we do things right and not getting too carried away. The goal is to get back before the end of the season.”

Spezza also had back surgery in 2006 and has suffered periodic back pain in the years since. He has occasionally needed to take days off from practice and has altered his workout routine to take away some of the strain on his back.

He believes he will come back stronger from the latest surgery, but there’s also an element of unpredictability to back problems.

“I do play hockey for a living and it’s not easy on the body,” he said. “The goal is to strengthen (the back) and to have it fixed and not be an issue going forward, but if there’s a doctor out there that could give me a guarantee — or if I could give you that guarantee — I would love to have it.”

Spezza says other players have successfully managed to play on after having surgeries on their back.

“I hope to be one of those guys,” he said.

BOROWIECKI HEADS SOUTH, LUNDIN HEADS TO HOSPITAL

Mark Borowiecki ended up being the odd man out on defence, assigned to Binghamton of the AHL on Friday. Borowiecki registered no points, a plus-1 rating, 18 penalty minutes and 26 hits in his six games with the Senators. “We want him to continue to work on his play with the puck,” said MacLean.

Fellow defenceman Mike Lundin, fresh from seeing 19 minutes of ice time in his Senators debut on Thursday, was given the day off because his wife, Shelly, was giving birth to twin girls Lily Katherine and Sophie Leigh. “There was never any issue about that,” MacLean said. “That’s an absolute priority.”

LAST SHOT WINS?

The Senators outscored the Jets 16-9 while winning three of four meetings last season — including a pair of 6-4 victories — and there’s always an expectation of an entertaining, high-scoring game when the two clubs meet.

“Sometimes, it’s like that old Smythe Division race to 10,” said MacLean, a former Jet. “I would like to win that race.”

kwarren@ottawacitizen.com

Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

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