Eric Wellwood, still recovering from the hockey scare of a lifetime, came off the ice this week after practice wearing a jersey he’d worn before. It didn’t have a Flyers logo or even an Adirondack Phantoms emblem on it.

He was wearing the threads from his old Ontario Hockey League team, the Windsor Spitfires. These days, the 23-year-old winger is a volunteer coach for his hometown team, and he couldn’t be happier to be this close to the game.

“They don’t pay me a cent,” Wellwood said by phone. “If I don’t show up for practice, I don’t have to. ... But that never happens.”

Before the season began, Windsor president Bob Boughner, who coached Wellwood from 2006-10 with the Spitfires, wanted to hire his former player as a video coach.

Wellwood can’t do that because he’s still trying to get back from a gruesome injury last season that may have ended his career. The Flyers still signed him to an AHL deal on good faith and he’s still trying to see if he can complete an unlikely comeback.

It was last April 7 when the Phantoms were playing the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Wellwood was out on the ice for a penalty kill.

When losing an edge, he went skates first into the boards. He’d done that before, but this crash was different.

His right foot hit first, but when his left foot followed up, it went into the back of his right leg, not the boards.

Wellwood got up in pain and skated to the bench thinking he had ruptured his Achilles tendon.

“Welly,” teammate Jon Sim called out, “Look at your skate. It’s full of blood!”

The Phantoms winger knew he was in trouble. He ditched his skates in the locker room and was wrapped up in gauze, then put in an ambulance and raced to a hospital.

That’s when Wellwood started feeling weak and told the paramedic he could still feel blood running down his leg.

Not only had Wellwood cut four tendons, including the Achilles, but also an artery and nerve.

The paramedic realized that the artery was cut and quickly grabbed it.

“I was starting to pass out in the ambulance a little bit,” Wellwood said. “I was starting to get weak. At the same time, your body is in shock, too. I knew I wasn’t in good shape, let’s put it that way.”

For six weeks, Wellwood was on bed rest and had to keep his right foot elevated at all times. After a hard cast came off, it was six weeks of a walking boot and crutches. After six more weeks, he was able to ditch the boot.

Initially, doctors wondered how well he would be able to walk again. Even now, he says he’s not walking “normally.”

He is, however, on skates.

“It almost feels better in my skate because my ankle is locked in and it’s not as mobile,” Wellwood said. “If I start to skate as hard as I’m capable of, it starts to hurt a lot.”

And that’s only when he’s volunteer coaching. Wellwood realizes he still has a long way to go to ever play hockey again, but that remains the goal.

“Where my head’s at is to play in the NHL,” Wellwood said. “If I can, obviously it’s great. If I can’t play in the NHL, then I may have to take a different route to hockey. Maybe coaching. That question doesn’t have an answer just yet.”

These days, when Wellwood really pushes himself on the ice, he usually needs three days to recover. Sometimes he needs that long just to put his skates back on.

“It’s starting to get frustrating because you’ve been dealing with it for so long,” Wellwood said. “When I do skate my hardest, I’m at about 70 percent of what I used to do, which is better than I thought. The frustrating part is I can’t do that on a daily basis, even at 70 percent.”

Skating was a big weapon for Wellwood, as the speedster had nine goals and eight assists in 58 games with the Phantoms last season and averaged 9:25 of ice time in four games with the Flyers.

In his mind, he should be back playing pro hockey right now.

“The timeline was a year of recovery,” the Flyers’ 2009 draft pick said. “I’m at nine and a half months right now.”

In the meantime, he feels he’s learning the game better in his second go-around in the OHL.

Wellwood has always been a strong penalty killer, and now he’s passing that knowledge along to current Spitfires.

“I didn’t know what to expect here,” Wellwood said. “I was nervous to tell a player what I thought because I didn’t want him to think, ‘Oh, he thinks he knows it all.’ They’ve been extremely responsive.”

He’s not used to watching the game from the press box, but it’s helped him a see a different side of the game.

He feels it’s made him a better hockey player, although he won’t know for sure unless he’s able to complete this unlikely recovery.

Despite his recent responsibilities as a volunteer coach, Wellwood still has the mind of an active player. “I’m going through what they’re going through in a sense,” he said. “We’re all trying to make the NHL.”