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Kevin Hayes close to returning; Flyers (finally) getting healthier



Kevin Hayes, Philadelphia Flyers
Second-line center Kevin Hayes, who has missed the last 13 games, smiles at the Philadelphia Flyers' practice Thursday. Photo: Zack Hill.

Second-line Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes could return as early as late next week, interim coach Mike Yeo said after Thursday’s practice in Voorhees.

Hayes last played Jan. 17, and has missed the last 13 games because of an injury to his adductor region (core area). He has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 20 games this season.

“He’s getting close, and I think there’s a good chance we could see Kevin in the lineup (soon),” Yeo said. “He had a real positive MRI. … I can tell he’s got more pace and more jump to the way he looks right now.”

Yeo made it sound as if Hayes would avoid surgery, though he said he wasn’t 100% certain.

“We want to be careful here; we want to put him in a good position if he is to return to play. We want to make sure he’s fully ready,” Yeo said, adding that Hayes’ size is much needed among the Flyers’ centers and that he would “ease some of the matchups.”

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Yeo said Hayes “doesn’t want to jeopardize next year. But at the same time, if people (doctors) are telling him maybe he doesn’t need surgery, maybe coming back and playing is going to help him more next year, and he may follow that advice as well. He’s going to listen to the experts.”

The Philadelphia Flyers are finally starting to get healthy. Joel Farabee (shoulder), Carter Hart (eye), and Derick Brassard (hip) also took part in practice Thursday. Farabee and Hart will play Saturday against Washington at the Wells Fargo Center, and Brassard’s status will be known after Friday’s practice.

Hart said it was encouraging to see Farabee and Brassard on the ice.

“If we get them back in the lineup, it’ll be huge for our group,” he said. “That’s something we’ve battled all year — injuries.”

The Flyers have lost six straight and 19 of their last 21.

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