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Backes of Bruins to have colon surgery, will miss eight weeks

33-year-old forward was diagnosed with diverticulitis on Oct. 5

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward David Backes will have surgery Thursday to remove a portion of his colon and is expected to be sidelined for eight weeks.

Backes, 33, was diagnosed with diverticulitis on Oct. 5, his second episode in two months, the Bruins said. It was complicated by an abscess or infection adjacent to the colon that required drainage.

"Repeated episodes, like what David experienced, have a very high likelihood of recurrence in the near term, which is why he was advised to have surgery to remove the area of colon causing the problem," Bruins internist Dr. David Finn said in a statement. "It was determined that attempting to delay the surgery until after the season was an unacceptable risk to his health."

Backes wasn't at risk while he was playing, the Bruins said.

Video: Elliotte Friedman on Backes, Shipachyov and Rangers

Backes, who has one assist in five games this season, is the latest Bruins player to be sidelined. Boston is missing forwards David Krejci (upper body), Ryan Spooner (groin) and Noel Acciari (hand). The Bruins placed Backes on injured reserve Thursday and recalled forard Austin Czarnik from Providence of the American Hockey League.

"We were hoping he could anchor kind of a third-line role, but nothing's kind of played out the way we were hoping because of the injuries," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We lost another good soldier, is the way I look at it.

"Part of the intangibles is probably what's going to be missed the most. He's pretty good at getting us back on track and being an on-ice big brother for a lot of our young guys, as much as what he brings to the table with his play. It's what he brings for comfort level for his teammates as well, we'll miss."

Boston has lost its past two games and is 4-3-3 heading into its game against the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, TVA Sports, NESN, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV). Krejci hasn't skated in more than a week and has been classified by Cassidy as week to week. Spooner was diagnosed with a right groin adductor tear Oct. 18 with an expected recovery in 4-6 weeks. Acciari, who resumed skating recently, was expected to be out six weeks after finger surgery Oct. 7.

The Bruins may have to lean even more on center Patrice Bergeron, who leads Boston forwards in ice time per game (21:27) and has six points (two goals, four assists) in five games. Sean Kuraly, Riley Nash and Tim Schaller may see their roles expanded at center. Jordan Szwarz, who can play center or right wing, was called up from Providence of the American Hockey League on Wednesday on an emergency basis.

Cassidy said the Bruins will have to make up for the injuries by committee, and that's how the players see it.

"It is a test," Bergeron said. "It's been a challenge from game one; we've missed someone since the beginning of the year, we haven't played a game with our full lineup yet. I would be lying if I said it was ideal, obviously.

"But that being said, the coach was saying and also preaching it's opportunities for other guys to step up and have a bigger share of responsibilities and whatnot. So we have to take that upon ourselves, whoever's on the ice, to do the job. And when we do get some guys back, it's obviously going to be great, it's going to feel like we had some trades or something happened."

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