BOSTON -- Forward David Backes will return to the lineup for the Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).
Backes was expected to be out eight weeks after having surgery Nov. 2 to remove 10 inches of his colon because of diverticulitis. Wednesday is almost four weeks since then.
"That's the delicate line you tiptoe on," Backes said. "Pushing the envelope so you can get back as soon as you can, but not pushing it too far and reinjuring things and having setbacks and lengthening your term of play. I've had great doctors and great medical staff that have been advising me along the way with great communication, and whenever my body said let's go and do more, they've given me that leash."
Backes had two bouts of diverticulitis; the second kept him off the ice for five games and pushed him to have surgery. The second time the illness recurred was complicated by an abscess that required drainage, according to Bruins internist Dr. David Finn.
It was a battle for Backes to wait, knowing that even as he began to feel better he needed to be cautious.
"That's part of the whole process is you're feeling good, you want to go out and conquer the world right away, but it might not be the best thing medically to do," Backes said. "I had to put my listening ears on a couple times and heed the advice from the guys that went to all that school."
Backes is trying to regain some of the weight he lost because of the illness, 8 pounds during the first episode and 7 pounds after the surgery. He's up to about 211 pounds, 10 pounds below his playing weight of 221.
"Long-term prognosis is better than before I had the surgery, as far as percentage chance of reoccurrence, anything like that," Backes said. "I was in great hands. We took care of it, and I think it was the right decision in the end, and on the other side we're going to be better for it."