After suffering a setback in his recovery from an offseason back injury, Kings defenseman Derek Forbort was put back on the team’s injured reserve list Saturday, delaying his season debut for the foreseeable future.
Having yet to play a game this season because of a back issue he picked up right before training camp, Forbort had been on a conditioning assignment with the Kings’ minor-league affiliate, the Ontario Reign, over the past week and was seemingly on the verge of being activated on the NHL roster.
But, as Kings coach Todd McLellan said prior to the team’s Saturday night game against the Calgary Flames, Forbort suffered a setback during his two-game stint in the American Hockey League. His new timetable remains unclear.
“I feel for him because he’s worked so hard to get back into shape and to find a way to contribute,” said McLellan, who was unsure of what specifically trigged Forbort’s setback. “I can’t give you an update right now. I couldn’t tell you where he’s at. Once we get home, I’ll know a little bit more.”
Entering the season, Forbort was expected to play a key role and big minutes on a Kings’ blue line lacking experience . But as the 27-year-old former first-round pick, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, began preparing for training camp, the injury popped up.
“I didn’t really skate all summer and then, the week before training camp, I skated hard four straight days,” he said last month. “By the end of that, I was in pretty rough shape. I think we knew then that I had to take a step back and figure out what was going on.”
Not until late last month did Forbort return to Kings’ practice. The two-game stint with Ontario – in which he got in a fight during the first period of the first game – was supposed to be one of the last steps in his recovery process.
“It just comes down to getting your touches back,” Forbort said before going on the AHL conditioning assignment. “Getting up to game speed.”
Instead, he’s hitting the brakes again, forced to wait a little bit longer for a full return to a last-place Kings team that could use his veteran presence.