VOORHEES, N.J. – Andrej Meszaros was back skating with his Flyers teammates for the first time Thursday, but cautioned that he’s still a ways away from getting back to game action.
“I feel I am progressing,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not where I want to be, as yet. We’ll see how the next few weeks go.”
And that’s about where he is with his recovery – still 2-to-3 weeks away.
Nevertheless, it was a positive sign for the Flyers that he was back on the ice, even if he was wearing the canary yellow, no-contact practice jersey.
At the very least, Meszaros can keep his conditioning level up to snuff by being able to skate, even if his left shoulder isn’t close to being ready.
The Flyers would like to have him back in the lineup in time for an important stretch of games against the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and Boston immediately after the Flyers Wives Carnival.
But Meszaros will return when he’s ready, and not before.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” he said. “When we didn’t play with the lockout, I wanted to play games in Europe and it didn’t happen. So the focus was get healthy and try to start the season on time, which I did.
“That was very good for me, but to come out [again] after four games, it’s frustrating and bad luck, I guess. What are you going to do? That’s the way it is. Hockey is a physical sport. Injuries are going to happen. It’s unfortunate to me that this happened back-to-back – the Achilles and the shoulder. I try not to think about it. I try to stay positive and do rehab every day. Maybe it’s a good thing I can get ready right now and get my rehab in for the stretch run.”
Nevertheless, it’s been a hellacious calendar year for Meszaros.
It started last March when he had to undergo surgery to fix a herniated disk in his back and missed the final 19 games of the regular season and the first 10 games of the playoffs.
Then, he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during a summer workout in his native Slovakia and spent six months rehabbing and recovering from the injury to make it back to the lineup in time for the opening game of this shortened season.
But Meszaros only made it to the fourth game of the season before he was shelved again after being checked by New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan on Jan. 24, severely spraining the AC joint in his left shoulder.
So, the road to recovery is again slow and lonely for Meszaros, but he can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He skated alone for two days while the Flyers were in Toronto and Winnipeg, and then had a 30-minute practice session with assistant coach Kevin MCCarthy before joining his teammates for 25 minutes.
However, he needs to be cleared by team doctors first, (his next appointment is next Friday) and then participate in contact drills in practice and strengthen his shoulder enough to be able to take slap shots – especially from a distance.
Still, it didn’t stop him from testing it a little bit at practice.
“I’m doing better than I thought,” he said. “Today I was shooting it, but not the way I shoot. I’m trying easy shots, nothing from far away. I wait until I get a little closer to get it on net.”
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