VOORHEES, N.J. — While there's still a good bit of gray area to Sean Couturier's problematic back injury, the Flyers did have one piece of positive news Wednesday on their all-important center.
Couturier will not require surgery.
He remains week to week, a timeline that can tend to fall on the indefinite side.
The no surgery is very good news for the Flyers. Couturier underwent back surgery in February, which knocked him out for the rest of last season. He played just 29 games. He was originally considered week to week in December before eventually undergoing the season-ending procedure.
The 29-year-old was poised for a full return to start the 2022-23 season but then felt concerning pain in his back just a handful of days before training camp. As John Tortorella's camp began last Thursday, Couturier went to see a specialist for further evaluation.
"He woke up one morning and was in a little more discomfort than normal," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last Thursday.
"I know over the course of the summer, he was improving, but yet from time to time, he had some nerve irritation in his glutes. He was told that it was a normal part of the process, continue to train. At some point over the last week, things deteriorated and it got to the point where he was not sleeping as well and experiencing some pain."
With injuries to Couturier and Patrick Brown (back), the Flyers' depth at center has taken a considerable hit before Game 1. Kevin Hayes, Scott Laughton and Morgan Frost are already penciled in down the middle. Tanner Laczynski appears to be a front-runner for the fourth-line center job, but Jackson Cates is absolutely in the picture along with veteran Artem Anisimov, who is in camp on a professional tryout.
Anisimov's chances have dampened, though, with a recent injury. The 34-year-old blocked a shot during the first period of the Flyers' preseason opener last Saturday and was able to finish the game. However, he has not practiced since then.
The Flyers open the regular season Oct. 13 against the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center.
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