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Devils Players Reveal Mystery Injuries at Locker Clean Out Day

At locker clean-out day, injured Devils revealed their mystery injuries.



New Jersey Devils

NEWARK — The New Jersey Devils’ list of injuries in the 2023-24 regular season was long.

Really long. Like, 279 man-games lost long.

When it came to players like Jack Hughes and Dougie Hamilton, we learned what their injuries were after it was announced they’d undergone respective procedures for repair.

However, throughout the season, other injuries had been limited to “upper,” “lower,” or even “medium” body status.

As the Devils players were cleaning out their stalls and preparing to depart to their homes for the summer, we got further clarity on the types of injuries they were each dealing with.

Nolan Foote

One of the biggest mysteries this season was whatever happened to Nolan Foote. At the end of the 2022-23 season, Foote seemingly made a case for himself as a bottom-six forward for New Jersey.

Foote was injured in the preseason and began the year on season-opening injured reserve, and stayed there through March 11th. Even after he was activated, Foote became re-injured before even stepping foot into a game.

The Devils forward finally revealed the specifics of his injury.

“You guys obviously haven’t known all year. It’s kind of been lingering for four years. It happened a while ago, just a lower-back injury disc issue,” Foote explained.

“It sucked, that it’s been going on that long. And, you know, I might have it for a long time. So, it might linger but, you know, I feel good right now and just [hope to] continue to maintain that.”

Foote’s rehab wasn’t exactly lonely. The Devils had a number of injuries filter in and out of skates away from the team. Foote explained he leaned on the Devils’ No.1 defenseman for most of the season, and Nathan Bastian down the stretch.

“I feel like I definitely got close this last couple of months with [Hamilton] and [Bastian] being out too. But it was a lot of injuries. So you’re in the gym a lot. And you’re on the rehab skates with those guys a lot,” said Foote.

Foote was finally able to dress in April and skated in four games with the Devils. He scored once against the Toronto Maple Leafs and averaged 10:06 of ice time.

The 23-year-old’s season ended before it could even start. Now that he’s fully cleared, he plans to take the summer to do as much as he can to be a regular next season.

“Kind of keep that going and just to continue the off-ice stuff, continue to work on the skating. Obviously, I missed so many games, so I want to try and get it all back.”

Curtis Lazar

Curtis Lazar‘s injury was bizarre.

The Devils forward left after the second period of New Jersey’s tilt on April 6th against the Ottawa Senators and never returned for the third period.

The following day, Devils interim head coach Travis Green explained he was likely done for the season.

At that point, only four games were remaining, however, we didn’t have clarity on whether Lazar’s injury was serious or not.

Fortunately, Lazar was present at locker clean-out day smiling, as usual. He revealed the specifics of his injury while also explaining that he probably would have been back this week had the Devils 2023-24 continued past the regular season.

“I guess no one really knew what happened, I ran into a guy mid-second period,” Lazar explained. “I kind of knew right away what happened. [I sustained a] shoulder injury. It’s nothing too major, I’d be clear probably this week. Again, we just kind of ran out of runway. My body is feeling good, unfortunately, we got too much time here to rest up.”

Lazar described himself as a “local” now. He’s going to remain in New Jersey with his family this summer and will conduct his offseason training nearby. He anticipates being 100% by the start of training camp for the 2024-25 season.

Timo Meier

After hearing from the Devils’ power forward yesterday, the first half of his season makes a ton of sense.

Timo Meier missed 13 games this season, although, he easily could have missed more.

Devils defenseman Kevin Bahl foreshadowed on Wednesday that there was a player on the team that was dealing with a double MCL injury.

Once Meier spoke, he revealed he was the player who Bahl had referenced, and added the “medium-body” injury he was dealing with as well.

“Just earlier in the year, both MCLs and then after that just an oblique injury, so nothing too crazy.”

After hearing Meier explain he was dealing with double MCL injuries, it adds up. Meier wore braces on each leg in the first half of the season under his hockey gear.

He certainly fought through the pain.

The Devils’ power forward explained he’s contemplating how to approach the summer, whether he will play at all or just stick to training.

After all, he’s still dealing with bumps and bruises he wants to fully recover from. That’s what the offseason is for.

“Just kind of get healthy. And then, you know, spend the time in the gym and put the work in,” Meier explained. “I know how big the offseasons are. For me personally, to play my best I need to get in the best shape. To play consistently, the style of game that brings me success, I got to put a lot of work in the gym and make sure when I get [back] here after the offseason that I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. That’s the goal for me.”

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