NHL

Chris Phillips, Senators defenceman, suffers cracked vertebrae in back rehab

Veteran defenceman Chris Phillips suffered a cracked vertebra in his recovery from April back surgery and won't begin training camp with his Ottawa Senators teammates on Sept. 18.

Veteran NHLer to miss start of training camp

Senators defenceman Chris Phillips suffered a cracked vertebrae during his rehab from April back surgery and will need an additional month of recovery time before beginning training to return to the ice. However, Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray expects the 17-year NHL veteran to recover fully and contribute to the team this season. Phillips, 37, managed only three assists in 36 regular-season games a year ago. (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Veteran defenceman Chris Phillips suffered a cracked vertebra in his recovery from April back surgery and won't begin training camp with his Ottawa Senators teammates on Sept. 18.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray informed the media on Tuesday that Phillips, 37, will need about one month of additional rehab before beginning training to return to the ice.

The Calgary native last played on Feb. 5 when he broke Daniel Alfredsson's record of most games played for the Senators at 1,179.

"We do expect him to fully recover and be a big contributor to the team's success this season," Murray said.

Phillips had his first skate since the surgery on Aug. 20 and admitted to an Ottawa reporter wondering over the previous couple of months if his playing career was over.

"It got to the point where it goes beyond hockey and whether you can play again," said Phillips, who managed just three assists in 36 regular-season games last season. "It's whether you can walk upright, or have a game of catch with your kids and stuff like that. That was hard on me."

The latest setback won't be any easier on the 17-year NHL blue-liner, who had a three-hour operation in the spring to repair a bulging disc in his back.

"I didn't really have much pain in my back, it was all the nerve stuff running down my leg … achy-ness in my leg that turned into numbness in my foot," Phillips said in August. "All that's gone now."

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