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Flyers goalie Michael Leighton returns to the ice following back surgery

Oct 30, 2010, 10:50 PM EDT

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Tim Brent, Darroll Powe

Former, and possibly returning, Flyers starting goalie Michael Leighton has missed the regular season to this point due to a back injury suffered during training camp. Leighton had surgery on his back and now he’s back skating on the ice preparing to return to action. For Leighton, getting back into game shape is a tricky matter as Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly shares with us.

Leighton said he did “some little twirling” on the ice and not much more.

“The back feels good,” he said. “The main problem was the weakness in my foot and with time that will go away. That’s still there but the back felt great. I did some movements but not much.”

The target date for his return to full practice remains around Nov. 20.

“I’m aiming as soon as I can get back on the ice to get back playing,” he said.

The only question remaining for Leighton when he does get back into game shape and into the Flyers lineup, is will there be a job for him upon his return? Rookie Sergei Bobrovsky has been solid in goal and Leighton’s backup before he was injured, Brian Boucher, has done respectably well in Leighton’s absence.

If there’s a a guy who has to be nervous about Leighton’s return to action it’s Boucher. Bobrovsky has done well enough to steal the majority of the starts to this point (six starts to four for Boucher). The catch for Leighton will be how much playing time he’ll be able to get when he is healthy enough to play. It was set to be a split-starter set up in Philadelphia before Leighton went down, but with Bobrovsky in place and playing well, it would make coach Peter Laviolette’s life a bit easier to have two guys he can count on to play in goal.

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