Tortorella talks importance of Flyers' health, knows Ellis is ‘huge' if healthy


Just before July, general manager Chuck Fletcher mentioned the unpredictable nature of Ryan Ellis' rehab.

With an injury so complex — deemed "multilayered" by the defenseman — the Flyers have not put a firm timetable on when Ellis will be cleared to practice or play.

They've been cautiously optimistic.

The problematic injury in his pelvic region cost Ellis all but four games last season. At the end of April, he said his goal was to be ready for September training camp. He and Fletcher noted July being an important month with the rehab intensifying. On July 13, Fletcher said Ellis had progressed but there was "no guarantee when he'll be back."

We'll see how things have gone when September draws closer.

John Tortorella couldn't provide any prediction. But the Flyers' head coach did know of Ellis' potential importance.

"I've talked to Ryan twice — once at the practice facility a few weeks ago, we had a conversation," Tortorella said Wednesday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "It's funny, I just called him today, left a message just to check on his rehab. I'm not sure. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and say he's going to be ready to go. I'm not sure. I don't think he's sure.

"So that's something we're going to have to monitor and see where we go. If he's healthy and he's ready to go mentally to play, it's a huge plus for our back end, both defensively and offensively. But we're going to have to wait and see, we'll see what happens."

More: Tortorella defends his GM, is 'a little pissed off' about criticism of Flyers

The 31-year-old was the Flyers' top offseason acquisition last summer. He's an all-situation, team-changing type of defenseman when healthy.

"I want to play here, I want to be a part of the solution here, I think I can really help out this team," Ellis said in April at his end-of-the-season press conference. "My family loves it here, my kids love it here, we’ve found a great school. If I was playing, this would be Heaven for me. The only reason it’s not is because I’m not playing."

The Flyers are crossing their fingers for better health in 2022-23. Tortorella believes it would go a long way.

"You look at Ryan Ellis, you look at Sean Couturier, you look at Kevin Hayes, right up the middle of the ice, that's where you build your team," Tortorella said. "What if those guys are healthy? What happens to your club?"

More: 'I didn't know what to say' — Farabee's neck injury total surprise to Flyers, winger

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