Bruins forward David Backes is expected to be sidelined most of October due to a case of diverticulitis, an oft-painful inflammation of the digestive tract.
The Bruins announced the diagnosis, and the veteran forward’s timeline to return, following the first period of their season opener Thursday night at the Garden vs. Nashville.
Backes, 33, missed Wednesday’s practice and was termed “under the weather” by coach Bruce Cassidy. Following Thursday morning’s workout in Brighton, Cassidy said Backes was meeting with the club’s medical staff and an announcement would be forthcoming — which came some eight hours later.
Backes, the former St. Louis Blues captain, joined the Bruins in July 2016 as a free agent, signing for a lucrative $30 million over five years. He finished his first season in Boston with 17 goals and 38 points in 74 games, missing games early in the season when he ruptured a bursa sac.
According to the club’s press release, Backes has been undergoing treatment at Mass General Hospital, his care directed by team internist Dr. David Finn. He will be reevaluated in two weeks, according to the release, but is “expected to be out for at least three to four weeks.”
With Backes sidelined, his right wing spot on the No. 3 line Thursday night was taken by Frank Vatrano, who rode with linemates Matt Beleskey and Sean Kuraly.
It’s likely the Bruins will reach down to AHL Providence for a callup in in Backes’s absence. The likeliest candidate could be Danton Heinen, who had a strong training camp and was among the last cuts sent to the WannaB’s.