Florida Panthers coach and general manager Tom Rowe said All-Star defenseman Aaron Ekblad will not be on Florida’s upcoming road trip but will stay behind and continue working out after he complained of what Rowe said is a “sore neck” following Tuesday’s game against Carolina.
Ekblad suffered a concussion earlier this month in Tampa and missed four games before being cleared by doctors and returning Tuesday. Ekblad has been out since and Rowe said he regretted playing him that night.
Rowe has stressed Ekblad’s recent absence is due to a neck issue and is not related to the concussion.
“He’s feeling good but we’re not going to rush him, be more patient with him,” Rowe said.
When asked if he wished he hadn’t played Ekblad on Tuesday, Rowe said “I’m not going to lie, I wish we didn’t. That’s on me. The doctors cleared him, our medical staff cleared him but I had some reservations and I wish I stayed with my gut. That’s no one’s fault but my own.”
Rowe added even though Ekblad wanted to play, he should have been held out a little longer.
“I’ve have a lot more experience in this business than he does,” Rowe said. “I have had a ton of experience with those types of injuries. I usually give those guys two or three days of practice and I wish I had done that. It’s no one’s fault but my own.”
On Friday, Rowe said Ekblad had been complaining of headaches and attributed them to his “neck injury” and not the concussion.
When Ekblad appeared to suffer a concussion at the World Cup of Hockey in September, he said it was diagnosed as a form of whiplash with headaches stemming from that.