Elbow surgery put David Backes on the shelf over for the duration of the past weekend, and he could be forced to miss another full week of action as he works his way back from injury.
Boston’s David Backes unexpectedly underwent surgery to remove the olecranon bursa from his elbow last week, and the initial timeline for his return was by the end of the weekend. However, as the Bruins get prepared for a brief Florida swing, it looks like Backes could be out for a while longer.
According to Bruins coach Claude Julien, Backes is expected to miss the entire road swing in Florida, a set of games that will see Boston square off against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night and head to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning on Thursday. With Backes, 32, expected to miss the two games in the Sunshine State, the most likely scenario would see him return either Saturday against the New York Rangers or Monday when the Bruins play host to the Buffalo Sabres.
“I think the soonest we’ll get him is probably when we return home,” Julien said, according the Bruins, and he added that if all goes well, Backes should, at the very least, return to the ice in the next few days.
Like any early season injury, missing Backes due to a minor ailment doesn’t have the Bruins in an absolutely dire position, but it certainly does hurt the depth of their lineup. He hasn’t been a huge offensive force outside of his first game in a Bruins uniform, a game in which he potted two goals and an assist against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but his defensive ability could certainly be an asset even when he’s not finding the score sheet.
More than anything, though, it’s Backes’ versatility that the Bruins have to be missing right now. He has the ability to move up and down the lineup, from wing to center, and that makes him an important piece as Julien learns how to deploy his new roster. Backes has already spent time on a line with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, a line that offers a nice balance of size, speed and skill, and he’s also skated with David Krejci and Danton Heinen lower down the lineup.
The capability of Backes to play both center and wing is important as the Bruins deal with some other injuries, too. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Patrice Bergeron is listed as a game-time decision with emergency recall Sean Kuraly set to play if Boston is in need of a replacement for their top center. Were Backes healthy, though, he’d be a shoo-in to take over on the top unit in place of Bergeron.
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