Boston Bruins center David Backes is back well ahead of schedule, after surgery to remove a portion of his colon. Coach Bruce Cassidy announced on Wednesday that the 33-year-old would return to the lineup at home against the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning, having last played on Oct. 30. And he’ll be joined in the lineup by fellow injured forward Brad Marchand.
Backes was hospitalized at the start of the season, but he returned to play five games, earning one assist and a minus-3. It was determined by Bruins team physicians and outside specialists that Backes should have surgery for diverticulitis, an intestinal condition with “a very high likelihood of recurrence in the near term” that could only be corrected through a procedure.
His rehabilitation time was set as up to eight weeks. Instead, Backes missed four weeks and 12 games for the Bruins (10-8-4, 24 points).
Cassidy announced more good news on the injury front: Marchand, 29, will also return for the Bruins against Tampa. He missed eight of Boston’s last 10 games with multiple injuries.
“It would be good to stay in consistently. That’s the goal — try to play the rest of the year without missing any games — but that’s not always in our control,” said Marchand on Tuesday.
Marchand remains the second-leading scorer on the team with eight goals and seven assists in 14 games. He’s the Bruins’ leader in goals (84) and points (181) over the past three seasons combined.
The Bruins trail the Detroit Red Wings by one point for third place and a playoff seed in the Atlantic Division.