VOORHEES, N.J. — Wednesday was a decisive day on Ryan Ellis' status for the Flyers' two-game Metropolitan Division road trip.
Ellis will not join the club for its games against the Penguins on Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Recovering from a nagging lower-body injury that could be to the hip/groin area, Ellis didn't practice Wednesday with the team at Flyers Training Center. About 45 minutes before practice, Ellis continued his on-ice rehab with Kevin Hayes (abdominal surgery). The two worked out with player development coach Nick Schultz.
Come Thursday and Saturday, Ellis will have missed seven straight games after playing in the first three. The top-pair defenseman was originally considered day to day by the club but the injury has prolonged.
"He's progressing, but he's not there yet," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Wednesday after practice. "He won't be available on this two-game road trip. Hopefully when we get back, he'll be able to join the group. It's what we're hoping."
Following Saturday's matchup with Washington, the Flyers have three days in between before they play again. They host the Maple Leafs next Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSP).
Hayes will be eligible to come off of long-term injured reserve against Toronto, but that doesn't mean the 29-year-old center will be ready to return to the lineup. Hayes had to undergo abdominal surgery Sept. 21, two days before the start of training camp. It was his second procedure of its kind in fewer than four months.
"I think it's a little early to tell," Vigneault said. "That's a six-to-eight week operation; four to six, six to eight depending on how things move along. In his case, it's his second one, so we're going to make sure that physically and [conditioning-wise], he's up to par. He hasn't had the luxury of a training camp. I know our conditioning people are on it, our medical people are on it. I'm hoping that soon he'll be cleared to have full practice with us and then it's a matter of is it four, five, six, seven full practices? I'm not quite sure."
The Flyers flew to Pittsburgh after Wednesday's practice. As Ellis stayed back to continue his rehab work in Voorhees, New Jersey, Hayes joined the team on its two-game trip. He'll serve as a spare skater and shooter for the club's morning skates while he continues working his way back.
Hayes' eventual return will be pivotal for the team's depth down the middle of the ice. The Derick Brassard signing about a month after free agency opened has turned out to be even more important for the Flyers early in their season. The 34-year-old with 117 games of playoff experience has a goal, five assists and a plus-7 rating through the Flyers' 5-2-1 start.
"Kevin plays a lot of situations on our team," Claude Giroux said Wednesday. "We have some guys that were able to step up and have those roles. Brass has been playing very well offensively and defensively. When you've got a guy like Kevin coming back in the lineup whenever that is, that's going to give us a boost."
In other health matters, Scott Laughton and Justin Braun missed Wednesday's practice for maintenance reasons. Vigneault expects both players to be ready for Thursday.
Wade Allison, who is out indefinitely with a right ankle injury, skated on his own Wednesday. It was a good sign to see Allison on the ice, but the 24-year-old winger is still a ways away. The Flyers won't rush an injury like a high ankle sprain. That type of injury takes time, so Allison is likely a month away at the earliest.
The Flyers' first divisional game of the season comes against the Penguins. Carter Hart will start in net for the Flyers.
The two clubs face each other four times in 2021-22. Pittsburgh is off to a 3-3-2 start and dealing with a difficult COVID-19 situation, which includes Sidney Crosby. Seth Rorabaugh of the Tribune-Review has the latest on the Penguins.
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