Sean Couturier's training camp will be delayed because of a knee injury, but the Flyers' top-line center is expected to participate in the last few exhibition games and be ready for the start of the season Oct. 4, general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday.
In a conference call with reporters, Hextall said Couturier will not be able to take part in all drills early in training camp, which will start Sept. 14 in Voorhees. He said Couturier, 25, will have to wear a knee brace when he participates.
Couturier, coming off a career season in which he collected 31 goals and 76 points, suffered a knee injury while playing in a benefit game in Quebec City on Aug. 10, Hextall said.
Hextall said the injury was in a different spot from the one suffered when he collided with teammate Radko Gudas during a playoff practice last season. Couturier suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee and missed Game 4 against Pittsburgh. He returned to the lineup for Games 5 and 6 and scored a combined five goals in five games.
Hextall wouldn't confirm it, but this injury is also believed to be to the right knee.
Surgery was not required for the first injury, or for the latest one, Hextall said.
In the benefit game, Hextall said Couturier was injured "on an innocent play" in front of the net during the Boot Camp Tournament. "It was a rebound and his leg just went the wrong way, and that's pretty much how it happened. It was more of a freak [thing] more than anything," Hextall said.
Hextall said that "this type of injury heals fairly quickly and fairly well" and that he did not anticipate left winger Claude Giroux's moving back to center early in camp.
Couturier is expected to participate "partially" at the start of training camp, but he will not be allowed to have any contact until about "halfway through camp," according to Hextall. He is expected to play the last two to four exhibition games, Hextall added.
Hextall said his players are permitted to play in off-season benefit games.
"We certainly don't want to hold our guys [back] from playing in charity games, but when things like this happen, it does obviously pause you to think and wonder whether these types of things are necessary or not," the general manager said. "Are there other ways to earn monies for charity?"
He said "doing things for charity is a terrific thing" and there isn't much contact in that kind of game. "But, again, when something like this happens, you kind of pause and think whether they're the right thing," he added.