Sunrise, FL – Prior to the Flyers' game against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night, Ken Hitchcock revealed that forward Turner Stevenson has been out of the lineup due to hip soreness.
Stevenson has battled the injury bug all season long, but could return by this weekend's games in Tampa Bay on Friday and Atlanta on Saturday.
"He had real soreness in his hips and not a lot of strength, so we put him on kind of a re-conditioning program, a lot of weights to build up his strength again," said Hitchcock. "He felt pretty good at practice [Tuesday]. That was the first day he skated and felt pretty good and felt good [Wednesday] as well. If he practices well again [Thursday] he should be able to be green-lighted again by the weekend.
"We had an MRI taken and the MRI was negative, but he felt with the two or three days off the ice, and then the leg strengthening that we did, he felt much better [Tuesday]."
Stevenson was placed on waivers prior to the trade deadline on March 9, but was not claimed by another club. Hitchcock said that Stevenson handled the situation like a professional.
"I'm sure he was disappointed, he's a proud guy, but he certainly didn't bring it on anybody else and didn't show it," said Hitchcock. "He's the same guy in the locker room. I think that's the thing that impresses you about Turner, is regardless of the situation, he is the same guy all the time. I think that's what's made him such a good team player."
The focus now is to make sure Stevenson is healthy for the playoffs, according to Hitchcock.
"When he feels strong he's effective, but when it gets weak he has a difficult time. We realize that. That's why we pulled him out. He had success doing this once during the year and then we got four, five or six games out of him that were pretty decent, so that's the focus – to get him strong again and get him through the year."