Freshman forward Eric Ciccolini had shoulder surgery Monday and will miss the remainder of the season, Michigan coach Mel Pearson said Tuesday.
Pearson didn’t name the specific injury, but said Ciccolini came to Ann Arbor with it and has been playing through it all season. His shoulder has been subluxing — sliding in and out of socket, repeatedly dislocating — throughout the season, and it got to a point where continuing to play through it didn’t make sense.
“He was playing with it all year, and about a week and a half ago, it happened again in practice,” Pearson said. “Not a hit, just an innocent little play and it got to the point where it was hard for him to play. … He could’ve played the rest of the year and had it after the season, but then it gets into your recovery time for the following year, because it’s a six to eight-month recovery.”
Ciccolini played in 26 of 28 games prior to his surgery and ranks seventh on the team in points with 11 total. His 10 assists are second on the team.
“I think you just saw a little bit of the player that he’s going to be,” Pearson said. “Having to play with that all year was — I give him a ton of credit. The mental toughness to have to grind it out through that, I mean just not knowing when it’s going to slide out on you.”
The surgery had been scheduled “for a while”, Pearson said, but even as recently as this past weekend’s series against Wisconsin, Ciccolini wasn’t completely certain he’d opt to end his season early. But after discussing it with senior forward Will Lockwood and associate head coach Bill Muckalt, both of whom have undergone similar surgeries, Ciccolini decided to go ahead and fix the issue.
With the six to eight-month recovery, Ciccolini projects to be back on the ice around the time the Wolverines pick up practice in the fall.
“I think this weekend (against Wisconsin), you could tell a little bit, he just played without that fear or trepidation that it might happen again,” Pearson said. “He just played, because he already knew the date and there was nothing that was going to mess it up. I give him a lot of credit. When your shoulder pops out, it’s painful. It’s not fun. But he’ll be ready to go next year, that’s the main thing.”