BOSTON (CBS) — Patrice Bergeron’s slow start to the season makes a lot more sense now.

The Bruins’ top-line center played the entire 2016-17 season with a sports hernia, the team confirmed on Tuesday. Surgery could be an option for Bergeron in the offseason.

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Bergeron missed the first three games of the Bruins’ regular season with what was termed a “lower-body injury” at the time. He struggled mightily on offense for the first three months of the season, scoring just 12 points in his first 36 games.

But from January on, Bergeron scored 14 goals and 41 points in his final 43 games, reaching 50-plus points for the seventh full season in a row. (He scored 32 points in 42 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.)

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[graphiq id=”aEhh11zUj7n” title=”Patrice Bergeron 2016-17 Game Log” width=”600″ height=”564″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/aEhh11zUj7n” ]

Bergeron’s game, of course, isn’t all about offense, and he was mostly his usual reliable self in the defensive end. He had the league’s best 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage (Corsi) among all players with at least 70 games played with a ridiculous 61.1 percent. He finished third in the league with 302 shots on goal. He also continued his dominance at the faceoff dot, leading the league with 1,089 faceoffs won in the regular season.

The centerman is also a top-three finalist for the Frank J. Selke trophy as the league’s best defensive forward for the sixth season in a row. He has already won the award three times. The Ducks’ Ryan Kesler and the Wild’s Mikko Koivu are the other 2017 Selke nominees.

Bergeron famously played with a punctured lung in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, so the fact that he played a full season with a sports hernia should surprise no one. Just add another item to the list of reasons why Bergeron is an absolute warrior.

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Elsewhere on the Bruins injury front … Torey Krug said he injured his MCL late in the season, which held him out of the Bruins-Senators playoff series – but he may have been able to play Game 7. David Krejci injured his knee and could have gotten back to full strength in the second round if the Bruins made it there. Brandon Carlo suffered a concussion, while Adam McQuaid said he injured his neck.