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David Backes’ late scratch raises fears of another concussion

David Backes participated in Saturday’s morning skate, but was not feeling well by game time, the Bruins said.
David Backes participated in Saturday’s morning skate, but was not feeling well by game time, the Bruins said. (file/Chris O’meara/AP)

VANCOUVER — Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy expressed concern over the health of David Backes, who was a late scratch for Saturday’s game against the Canucks following a hit to the head Thursday.

The 34-year-old participated in the morning skate before Boston’s 2-1 overtime loss, but by game time was not feeling well enough to play.

It is feared that Backes, who has a history of concussions, has another.

“We’ll list it as an upper-body injury,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game. “I think we all saw the hit.”

Backes was shouldered in the head by Oilers defenseman Matt Benning on his opening shift in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss at Edmonton.

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He was checked for a concussion and cleared to return, but skated just 6:28 in total. Cassidy noted he was protecting him.

Cassidy said Saturday he was “absolutely” worried about Backes, given his history.

“You want to be cautious, first of all,” he said. “This is a player’s health, that left at the end of last year with a concussion.”

In Game 5 of a second-round playoff game, Backes was trucked head-on by Tampa Bay’s J.T. Miller. Backes, who signed a five-year, $30 million deal in July 2016, has had at least two concussions with the Bruins. Last May, he acknowledged he has had several more over his career, now in its 13th season.

“He’s a veteran guy. It’s his call,” Cassidy continued. “We support him 100 percent. Hopefully one game doesn’t turn into a bunch, but we’ll see [Sunday] how he feels.”

Against Vancouver, first-line center Patrice Bergeron and winger Joakim Nordstrom took Backes’s shifts between wingers Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork.


@mattyports