Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery

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Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery

STORRS, CONN -- UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has undergone what the school says was successful surgery to address the spinal condition that has forced him to miss the Huskies' past sevengames.

The school says the two-hour surgery was performed Monday morning at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and involved removing a disc fragment that had been pressing on a spinal nerve. The surgeons then decompressed the area around thenerve.

Calhoun issued a statement thanking his doctors and those who reached out to him to offersupport.

The school says Calhoun's coaching status will be monitored on a day-to-day basis, and there is no timetable set for hisreturn.

UConn, which has gone 3-4 during Calhoun's medical leave for spinal stenosis, plays at Providence onTuesday.

Calhoun told The Associated Press Saturday that he hopes to be back in time to coach the March 3 season finale againstPittsburgh.

Dr. John Knightly, who is the medical director of the Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., but is not treating Calhoun, said that is certainly apossibility.

"I have patients driving after a couple of days, and if you can drive, you can coach, assuming he's not having other problems that would require a much more aggressive surgery," he said. "This is so he can walk more independently withoutpain."

Under associate head coach George Blaney, the Huskies lost to Syracuse on Saturday, 71-69.
"I hope more than anything that he takes care of the pain," Blaney said. "The pain has been really, really tough for him - for anybody - but for him because he doesn't acknowledge pain. So, I can imagine what the pain really is for it to keep him out, and I'm hoping the operation or procedure is successful and that he'll be back as soon aspossible."

Calhoun turns 70 in May and is a three-time cancer survivor. There has been talk after the past several seasons of his possible retirement, but center Alex Oriakhi said he doesn't believe this latest health setback will mean the end of the coach'scareer.

"It takes a lot to bring Coach Calhoun down," he said. "I definitely think this is really nothing for him. That's a man who fell off his bike, broke his ribs and kept riding. I definitely think you're going to see him backsoon.

"This is just a little bump in the road, but he'll get throughit."

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

Acciari notches first NHL goal in Bruins win over Predators

BOSTON – It took until his 43rd game in the NHL to finally score his first goal with the Bruins, but Rhode Island native Noel Acciari said it made him appreciate it all the more when that moment finally did arrived on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Acciari finished off a Riley Nash feed on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush that gave the Bruins an insurance goal they badly needed in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

Then David Pastrnak hit Acciari with a shaving cream pie to the face during the NESN broadcast as a way to commemorate his teammate’s big scoring moment, and Torey Krug immediately fished the puck out of the net to make certain that Acciari would get it.

So it was the best of both worlds with the team-oriented Acciari, who watched his Bruins win to go right along with his hallmark scoring moment that he’ll remember forever.

“Your first NHL goal is a special feeling and to finally have it, you know, like I said before I couldn’t have done it without the other guys, the other four, five guys on the ice. But it feels good,” said Acciari, who has a goal and four points in 24 games this season in Boston. “It just shows you how special it is. It’s not going to come the first game you play; it could come 10, 20, for me probably over 40, but it still feels the same.”

Clearly it’s more about providing a physical, heavy and aggressive opponent when Acciari suits up for the Black and Gold, and it’s less about providing offensive production that’s really a bonus from the fourth line. The focus on throwing hits, aggravating opponents and playing with extra energy have been a big part of Acciari’s game since his return from Providence, and that is absolutely been by design.

“I think I kind of strayed [from my strengths] when I got back from my injury – I kind of strayed away from the hitting game,” said Acciari. “Just getting in on the fore-check and, you know, just kind of getting back to that down in Providence was huge and kind of get my confidence up down there helped out a lot. So when I got the call up I was ready for anything.”

He’s certainly played like he was ready for anything while posting a goal and two points along with a plus-4 in his first four games back for the Bruins organization. Acciari did all of that while leading everybody in Tuesday night’s game with eight registered hits in the win over Nashville. So the 5-foot-10, 208-pound Acciari gave a pretty good example against the Predators of just what he can do with steady ice time and the trust of his teammates as all of the hockey clubs in the East gear up to finish strong for the playoffs.

Now all Acciari has to do is continue to play consistently, punish opposing players and chip in a little offense from time and time as he carves out a permanent role on Boston’s fourth line, and helps his team win a few along the way. 

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Florio on issues NFL may face with Raiders in Las Vegas

Mike Florio joins Quick Slants to discuss the problems of the Raiders moving to Las Vegas, and the latest NFL rule changes.