PHILADELPHIA -- For the first time in a long time, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros is able to say he feels healthy.
Injures to his back and shoulder, as well as a torn Achilles tendon, has limited him 12 games since March 1, 2012. He played 11 games last season.
"I'm really excited," he told NHL.com after taking part in the team's optional skate Wednesday. "I can't wait to play again. It's been a while. Preseason is over, so now I'm ready to go and it should be fun."
Last season was just about a lost one for the 27-year-old. He tore the Achilles during offseason training, which sidelined him during the lockout. He was cleared to play in time for the season opener, but played four games before spraining his left shoulder. He returned to play seven games, re-injured the shoulder and hasn't been in the lineup since March 26.
Those maladies followed a back problem that affected him during the 2011-12 season, sidelining him for the final two months of the regular season and all but one Stanley Cup Playoff game.
Meszaros said he never worried about if he ever would be the same player again, instead just focusing on his rehabilitation and getting himself as close to 100 percent as he could.
According to his coach, he's done a good job of that.
"He's been great," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think he is working his way back. He's been off for the better part of two years, spotted here and there when he hasn't been injured, but he's had a tough go of it. To get him back, his ability to move the puck and shoot the puck and play a physical game for us, it's nice to get him back.
"I think he's gotten better as camp has gone on. He hasn't played games in a long time. The more games he plays, the more rust you can shake off, the more confidence you get in your body and your ability to do things at a high level. I think he's getting back to that. Is he where he wants to be? Probably not yet. But he's looking good and getting better."
The most important part for Meszaros is not worrying about any previous injury when he gets on the ice.
"I'm ready to go, excited, and when I go out there I'm definitely not going to think about what happened," he said. "Everything feels good and I'm ready to go. Can't wait for it to start."