Every day of training camp that passes by is more and more worrisome. The longer Jarome Iginla stays injured, the dimmer the hopes of the Calgary Flames seem.
Of course, the organization loves telling us about how it's a minor injury and Iggy isn't practicing to keep from re-aggravating it before the season beings; that's probably not only true, but it's also something they probably believe very sincerely.
So if it's a minor injury that's really not a big deal, why should it worry Flames fans so much?
To start with, it's not exactly like Iginla had a specific aggravating cause for this. It happened on the first day of training camp, thirty minutes into his first skate. In other words thirty minutes of skating into the season and Iggy developed back spasms. I mentioned that injuries were going to be far more likely as Iginla gets older in my Reasonable Expectations preview, and this is exactly that happening. What happens when an opponent collides with his back or he slides into the boards? Will that re-aggravate this? Obviously, nobody knows, but it's a troubling thought.
What's worse is that this wasn't a "one day to rest" type injury. Three days into camp and Iggy still hasn't skated again. I'd be shocked if he was working out. These back spasms are bad enough that he still can't play or won't. They're bad enough that after three days he's still at a risk of either re-aggravating or worsening them. Of course, they're just being cautionary, but you'd hope with something like back spasms, caution would be unnecessary after a day or two.
The last stressing idea is more likely to actually happen and less likely to have a huge effect, but the fact is, Iginla is missing training camp and pre-season games. If this continues much longer, he won't be in the shape we'd hope for at the beginning of the season. He won't have played anything resembling a real game since the end of the last season. He'll be less in shape than we're used to and far more rusty than we usually expect from him at the beginning of seasons. Missing training camp time is never a good thing, and that's the main risk we're looking at here, though it's far from the worst possibility.