Dr. Watkins will Operate on Nikolai Khabibulin

He had a disc issue a couple of years ago which was minor, but after this procedure, the back will be strong.

Khabibulin will have a herniated disc repaired today in Los Angeles by famed back surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins, which will put him out at least 12 weeks. His last action was a shootout loss in Columbus on November 16. In the past, Khabibulin tried some injections to see if his back discomfort would ease, but it did not.

If he had the surgery a month ago, he might have got back before the season ended, but an operating theatre is always a last option, as rest and other remedies are almost always the first course of treatment. Khabibulin's back problems did not result from a collision or anything but more like from the wear and tear on a guy who has played 696 NHL games.