ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Less than a month after colon surgery, former Blues hockey player David Backes is back on the ice for the Boston Bruins.
Backes underwent surgery on November 2nd to remove ten inches of his colon — after repeated episodes of diverticulitis complicated by an infection. He wasn’t expected to be back until around New Years, but he played in Boston’s Wednesday night game against Tampa Bay.
Related story: David Backes Returns After Colon Surgery
Gastroenterologist at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital, Dr. Michael Heavey says the 33-year-old forward’s top physical condition is one factor to how he was able to return so quickly.
“For him to bounce back in three to four weeks is probably more a reflection of his overall fitness than it would be anything else,” Heavey says. “And of course, skill of his surgeon too.”
Heavey says most patient spend three to four days in the hospital after such a surgery, then a few weeks at home before being able to go back to work. And that’s for those with non-contact careers, but Backes played 18:58 of ice time and lead his team with five hits against Tampa Bay.
And he had started practicing again on Nov. 20, just 18 days after surgery.
“I think I felt better than I expected to feel,” Backes told reporters after the win. “Four weeks off, you know, 20-something games into the season, everyone is hitting their stride and trying to catch up from 10 days sitting around, not doing anything is a bit of a challenge, but that’s a credit to the training staff and strength staff here.”
Backes was previously hospitalized at the start of the season, and played just five games before requiring surgery. He was signed by the Bruins as a free agent after the 2015-16 season. He captained the Blues for five seasons, but played a total of 10 seasons in St. Louis.