By the looks of Saturday's practice, Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros will return to the lineup for Game 4 on Sunday night in Newark.

By the sounds of it, Meszaros himself isn't even sure he is ready.

The final call may not actually be up to Meszaros, as the Flyers could try to press him into action for the first time since he underwent lower-back surgery March 21 to remove a disk fracture. It wouldn't be the first time, especially in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"You want to help the team, but on the other hand, you don't want to overdo it," Meszaros said. "I hope I still have the next 15 years in the NHL. It was a major surgery, so it's tough to push something."

Meszaros, 26, rotated on a pair with Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja on Saturday, a sign that one of those three players will be the odd man out for Game 4.

Meszaros has practiced with the Flyers for more than a week straight. The original prognosis from doctors was a six- to eight-week recovery time. Six weeks passed May 3. He has not worn a noncontact jersey in practice this week, although general manager Paul Holmgren has not responded to repeated questions on whether Meszaros has been cleared by a doctor.

Meszaros said Saturday's practice was the biggest physical test for him thus far.

"Sometimes, you feel great for a couple days and then the third day is tough," Meszaros said. "It's a long process, day-by-day. Every day is different. It's tough to say."

Meszaros admitted the series standing, with the Flyers facing the possibility of trailing three games to one on Monday morning, plays a role in the decision-making. As a confident puck carrier, he could be just the man the Flyers need to stop the bleeding in their own zone.

Couturier out?

Though coach Peter Laviolette said not to "hang your hat on it," he juggled his lines at Saturday's practice. The biggest change was Claude Giroux centering James van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds. Danny Briere skated with Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek. Brayden Schenn moved to center Matt Read and Jaromir Jagr, and Zac Rinaldo took Sean Couturier's place on a line with Max Talbot and Eric Wellwood.

Couturier has not skated since leaving Thursday's Game 3 in the first period with an apparent right leg injury. His status for Game 4 is unknown. Officially, he is day-to-day, according to Holmgren.

Praise for N.J.

Jaromir Jagr was asked if Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss was a wake-up call for the Flyers.

"Wake-up call? I don't know if you guys thought we would win 4-0. I knew it was going to be tough. And it is tough," he said. "We didn't play our best. We should play a lot better than we have the last three games, for sure. But you have to give them a lot of credit, also. They don't give you much. It's not like we're not trying."

Inquirer staff writer Sam Carchidi contributed to this article.
Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com or on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog, "Frequent Flyers," at www.philly.com/frequentflyers.