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Ekblad out again, this time with a sore neck

Florida Panthers v Dallas Stars

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 04: Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Florida Panthersduring a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 4, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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It’s not concussion-related, Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe told reporters today -- but defenseman Aaron Ekblad woke up this morning with a sore neck and will miss tonight’s game against Arizona.

Ekblad had only just returned to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion. He logged 18:14 in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Carolina.

And now he’s out again.

Certainly, the timing of Ekblad’s latest injury, not to mention the fact it’s a sore neck, will lead many to doubt Rowe’s assertion that it’s not concussion-related.

But Rowe said before the Hurricanes game that the club was being cautious with its 21-year-old star defenseman.

“We didn’t want to rush him back because he’s such a young guy,” said Rowe, per the Miami Herald. “With a concussion, we didn’t want to rush him back.”