A week ago, Sean Couturier deemed himself healthy, despite some setbacks during the summer.
"Nothing to worry, everything's coming back to normal," he said.
That has quickly and alarmingly changed.
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Couturier, who was limited to 29 games last season because of a back injury that required surgery, recently suffered what the team has called an "upper-body injury." The club announced Monday night that Couturier will be reevaluated during training camp and is considered week to week.
The Flyers start camp Thursday morning. The 29-year-old Couturier was on the ice as recently as three days ago.
Anthony SanFilippo of CrossingBroad.com first reported the Couturier injury Monday night.
It's unclear whether Couturier's issue is a reinjury to the same area of his back that was injured last season. The severity of the injury is also not yet known.
When the Flyers' first-line center underwent his season-ending procedure in February, general manager Chuck Fletcher was asked if there was any concern about the back issue lingering into the later years of Couturier's career?
"Not at all," Fletcher said. "There were things we looked at nonsurgically that may have helped short term, but there were some concerns about long term, so the procedure he had today, to the best of everybody's knowledge at this point, should resolve the issue."
Couturier, a Selke Trophy winner two years ago, expressed the same confidence at his end-of-the-season press conference in late April.
"That’s what they told me. I feel that way, I hope it. You never know in this business," he said. "It’s a tough sport out there and we can get hit, it can happen again, just don’t know. But I feel pretty confident that I’ll be back to 100 percent, so there's no extra worries I guess."
The news is devastating to the Flyers, who were marred by injuries last season and are still dealing with them to critical pieces just three days before the start of their 2022 camp.
The status of Ryan Ellis is completely up in the air. The top-pair defenseman played only four games last season because of a complex injury in his pelvic region.
"I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say he's going to be ready to go," Flyers head coach John Tortorella said in July. "I'm not sure. I don't think he's sure."
It's also uncertain if Joel Farabee will be ready for the start of the regular season after he underwent disc replacement surgery in his neck area a little under three months ago. The 22-year-old winger has been participating in informal workouts at Flyers Training Center and we'll know more on his status this week.
The Flyers have Kevin Hayes, Morgan Frost and Patrick Brown at center. If Couturier is to miss significant time, Scott Laughton would likely move to center full-time.
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