VOORHEES, N.J. -- Andrej Meszaros
said Saturday's practice was the hardest he's worked since having back surgery March 21. But, he remains unsure if the next step for him is a return to the lineup.
"It's a long process," Meszaros said. "It's getting better day by day, but every day is different."
Meszaros hasn't played since March 1, and had surgery to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root. The original prognosis was a 6-8 week recovery; May 2 was the six-week mark.
"I think every day a player is on the ice and practicing with your team, I think that's a good thing, a positive thing," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette
Meszaros took shifts in practice with Andreas Lilja
, the first time he's worked with one of the team's regular defensemen in his recovery. Rookie Erik Gustafsson
, who had been paired with Lilja, skated with Pavel Kubina
, who has been a frequent healthy scratch.
"I want to be out there," Meszaros said. "I want to play so bad, but it didn't happen yet. Hopefully in the future it's going to be there. I'm hoping I'm going to play in the playoffs."
Meszaros said he has to feel good enough to play at his best, otherwise he knows there's no reason for him to be in the lineup.
"It depends how I feel," he said. "If I don't feel good, you can't play. Sometimes you feel great for a couple days and the next day, the third day is tough. It's hard to say. It was a major surgery, so it's tough to push something. … That's what I'm afraid of [coming back too soon and making it worst]. You feel good and then sometimes you do something on the ice and you don't feel good. You don't want to put pressure on it. I want to play, but it's hard sometimes when you don't feel comfortable out there."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK