Couturier takes ‘a step in the right direction' with back injury


VOORHEES, N.J. — Sean Couturier popped into the Flyers' locker room, wearing his full practice getup and sweating from a good workout.

The Flyers' first-line center wasn't practicing with his team Sunday, but he was on the ice for his own practice, which was positive news.

Couturier rehab skated for around 40 to 45 minutes, shot and handled the puck and has felt pretty good. He has been skating since the end of last week.

"Getting better and better every day," he said. "Back on the ice, so it's a step in the right direction here."

Just a handful of days before training camp, Couturier suffered a reinjury to his back that he had surgery on in February. The reinjury did not require surgery and Couturier has been considered week to week.

"We're going gradually here, every day doing a little more," he said, "seeing how it responds every day and how it goes.

"They're kind of just evaluating me every day, see how it goes, see how I progress. The goal is really just to be 100 percent when I come back and not have to deal with anything all year."

Couturier's injury recovery is a day-to-day process in the sense of seeing how he feels when he wakes up every day.

"Pretty much," he said. "At the same time, I really want to just get out there and rip some pucks and go 100 miles per hour, but the trainers are really kind of holding me back, just really trying to slowly progress me where I don't have any setbacks. So far, it's been working.

"I'm moving pretty well out there. Just anxious to really get back with the group and get going."

The Flyers will open the regular season Thursday without Couturier. The club has final roster decisions to make before it welcomes the Devils to the Wells Fargo Center.

"I've been talking to him quite a bit here," Scott Laughton said. "He's a crucial part of our team and he brings a ton of value."

John Tortorella and his staff are adjusting for now.

"I know he's in good spirits, talked to him, he's in good spirits, he feels good," the Flyers' head coach said. "We'll just see. What happened with him, when we got going, when we ramped it up a little bit, that's when he struggled a bit.

"But he's in good spirits. I think that's one of the main things with athletes that are going through some of this stuff is their attitude toward it. We'll see, we'll just go day by day there."

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