Blackhawks’ Jujhar Khaira likely out for season after back surgery

Khaira, who won’t resume hockey activities for 10 to 12 weeks, likely will finish the season having played only 27 games.

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Jujhar Khaira scored three goals in 27 games for the Blackhawks this season.

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Forward Jujhar Khaira’s injury-marred season likely has ended.

Khaira had lower-back surgery Tuesday at Northwestern Hospital, the Blackhawks announced Wednesday.

He’s expected to be “out of hockey activities” for 10 to 12 weeks with just over nine weeks left in the regular season.

It certainly hasn’t been the season Khaira, 27, imagined when he signed a two-year contract with the Hawks as a free agent last summer.

He suffered a concussion after a scary collision with Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba on Dec. 7 that sidelined him for nearly a month, then played only nine more games before his back injury sprang up Jan. 18.

Khaira underwent testing the last few weeks before deciding on this course of action.

“You’re just trying to fight it off, [hoping] there’s something where [the diagnosis is], ‘He’s going to be OK; he’ll be back in a week,’ ’’ interim coach Derek King said.

“But as you prolong it, he gets a second and third opinion to make sure, and then this is what they came up with. It’s too bad.”

Khaira would finish the season with three goals and no assists in 27 games, averaging 13:36 of ice time. He did dish out 88 hits (averaging 3.3 per game), providing an even more physical presence than he did earlier in his career with the Oilers.

“It’s obviously not the year he wanted,” King said. “We’re a much better team with him in the lineup, the way he plays. But sometimes these things happen, and you’ve got to deal with them. He’ll deal with it the right way, and we’ll get him ready for next year.”

NOTES: The Hawks plan to start Marc-Andre Fleury in goal Friday against the Devils before Kevin Lankinen, who was activated off injured reserve, makes his return Sunday against the Blues.

† Defenseman Jake McCabe (back soreness) is likely to play Friday despite missing both practices this week. Forward Tyler Johnson, despite practicing for weeks while recovering from his disk-replacement surgery, is less likely to return this weekend. Backup goalie Arvid Soderblom returned to Rockford.

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