Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra underwent a second surgery on his injured left eye Tuesday, but the NHL team was not providing detailed updates on his condition, including whether his vision was saved.
The Canucks were stunned Monday when basketball superstar Steve Nash, Malhotra's brother-in-law, took to Twitter to wish his best wishes, and revealed Malhotra would undergo surgery to "save" his eye and vision. The team, which has kept tight wraps on the injury, said Malhotra wanted his condition kept private, although that message apparently didn't get to his own family. Malhotra is married to Nash's sister Joann.
Nash's tweet forced the Canucks' hand with regards to a public comment, and the team issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon saying that Malhotra's second surgery was "successful."
General manager Mike Gillis and assistant general manager Laurence Gilman travelled to New York Tuesday to be with Malhotra and hear first-hand information from the specialist who performed the surgery.
"I don't think anything will be absolutely determined today or over the next week," Gillis said while Malhotra was in surgery. "There are varying levels of outcomes."
Gillis would not disclose the name of the surgeon, nor the facility where the procedure was taking place, although reports indicated it was Dr. Stanley Chang, who operated on former Maple Leaf Bryan Berard in 2000. Berard sustained a detached retina after being hit in the eye by a stick, and required seven surgeries, and a contact lens, before returning to the NHL.
Gillis would not answer many questions about Malhotra, including whether his career was over, and whether he would ever be able to see out of his left eye. According to a source, during Malhotra's first surgery on March 16, doctors worked feverishly but were under the impression that the chances of Malhotra's vision returning to normal were slim.
"After further consultation with specialists and team doctors, today Vancouver Canucks forward Manny Malhotra underwent a second successful eye procedure," the team statement read. "Manny Malhotra's health continues to be the primary concern of the hockey club. Progress updates will be made available at the appropriate time."
The statement did not provide details about Malhotra's vision, whether he will need future surgeries, or whether he could one day returning to playing in the NHL, which has a minimum vision requirement. The 30-year-old is under contract to Vancouver for two more seasons after signing a three-year, $7.5-million U.S. pact last summer.
The Canucks have said Malhotra is out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, even if the team goes on a deep run into June. That means that Malhotra's injury was so severe that even with three months of recovery time, he would not be healthy enough to play.
He suffered the injury against the Colorado Avalanche, when a puck deflected off the stick of defenceman Erik Johnson and flew directly into Malhotra's face. He left the ice bleeding profusely, and underwent emergency surgery that evening.