Whenever Tyler Ennis would try to hit top speed, his body let him down. That’s when he knew surgery was the only option.
“I have to be able to skate fast and be agile and be quick,” Ennis said Thursday. “If I don’t have that then I’m pretty useless out there.”
The Sabres forward underwent sports hernia/groin surgery in early November. He skated with his teammates Thursday for the first time since the operation.
“It was fun to be out there,” Ennis said in KeyBank Center. “I’ve still got to get everything feeling 100 percent, so today was a good first step.”
There is no timetable for Ennis’ return. Sports hernias typically take two months, so the winger likely has another week or two before returning to the lineup.
“It’s still a fairly long road for Tyler to assimilate and get back into playing a game,” coach Dan Bylsma said.
Ennis had just one goal and one assist in 12 games before the surgery. The swift-skating, crisp-cutting winger was playing without those weapons.
“It was just kind of gradually getting worse,” he said. “It reached the point where I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. It was frustrating.
“I had to get it looked it and found out there were some tears and stuff. I had to get them sewn up. I’m doing a good job healing.”
The 27-year-old has had a rough 13 months. He had a concussion in November 2015, then suffered a season-ending concussion last December. He was limited to just 12 games this calendar year.
“It’s about as tough a thing as you can go through as a hockey player,” Ennis said. “We all want to be out there. Hockey’s our life, so it’s frustrating.
“But I know that once I get my body healed up 100 percent, I’m going to be a better player.”