BRIGHTON -- Keeping track of Bruins injuries is a full-time job.
Brad Marchand was still wearing a no-contact jersey at practice Saturday and will be out for Sunday’s late-afternoon tilt against the Edmonton Oilers. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn't skate at all and is out for at least the next week. Neither Ryan Spooner nor Peter Cehlarik practiced Saturday after getting dinged up in Friday’s win over the Penguins, and only Spooner even has a chance of playing Sunday against the Oilers.
But one of the better injury stories is David Backes, who has been cleared for contact little more than three weeks after getting 10 inches of his colon removed in an abdominal surgery for diverticulitis. Backes isn’t going to play on Sunday and still doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be cleared medically for game action, but he wants to make sure his conditioning is up to snuff when he does return.
“I’m trying have guys lean on me and me lean on other guys to continue making that progression to hopefully getting back as soon as we can,” said Backes, who played in five games with a single assist before succumbing to surgery. “Whenever that is, we’ll see. You can skate all you want, but real fatigue is battling around with guys to find pucks, and see how my insides react to that sort of thing,. I’ve had no issues yet, and we’ll continue to monitor and progress so hopefully I’ll be putting a game jersey on in short order.
“We haven’t gone that far [to target dates]. I don’t how you’re going to simulate getting hit for real, or getting hit really hard. Truthfully if I’m healthy I’ve got to find my way into the lineup because we’ve got different guys contributing at different times. It’s building character and identity in the room, and we need to make when other guys come back that we keep that character and identity.”
It will be interesting to see where the Bruins are at with Backes next week when, after a Wednesday night meeting with the division-leading Lightning, they play just once in five days. Still, Backes is still weeks ahead of an expected two-month recovery period after an intricate surgery that cut through his abdominal muscles.