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Eager to start rehab

Monday, 03.14.2011 / 1:20 PM ET / News
Philadelphia Flyers
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Eager to start rehab
Chris Pronger made no bones about it, he’s happy about the decision to have surgery and is very happy to start rehabbing as soon as possible.

“It was just one of those things… nothing was showing up on the X-ray, but it continued to stay weak.  It would progress on days off and then it would get weak after playing,” said Pronger who spoke to the media today via conference call from the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, N.J.

“A player knows his body and I’ve been around the game long enough to know when something doesn’t feel right and isn’t responding to treatment.  It just kept lingering and wouldn’t go away.”

With the surgery just the other day (Tuesday), Pronger has already begun the process of getting back to a workout routine and soon enough getting back on the ice.

Chris Pronger seen with bandages while interviewing with ABC6.
“It’s a little swollen, still bandaged up and all the rest of that stuff, [but] I feel great. I just finished a workout and I feel probably a little better than you in your sprinting days.”

Unlike his surgery on his foot in December, Pronger can begin skating just a few days from now, which will most likely be when the bandages from the surgery come off and a splint is put in place.

Something Flyers fans shouldn’t look for however is a return to action too soon. The timeframe for his return to the line up coincides right at playoff time, possibly a couple games before then, but more importantly it would be when he is at 100 percent.

“It’s tough. It’s never easy being hurt. You always want to be part of the team and part of the action and playing,” added Pronger. “But I’m going to use this time wisely and make sure when I do get back that I’m ready to go and kind of jump in hopefully seamlessly.

“It’s never easy to hop right back in.  But the thing with this injury is I’m going to be able to be skating and practicing and doing all the rest of that stuff while I’m in the recovery stage, which helps.”

* * *
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren updated the media that surgery on defenseman Chris Pronger's right hand to insert a small screw to repair a small fracture was successful on Tuesday morning.

The recovery time is still estimated at 3-4 weeks, however according to Holmgren it will not effect his skating timeframe.

“Obviously, he’ll be able to start skating again fairly soon," said Holmgren. "It’s his hand.  He’ll be able to skate probably next weekend.  We’re looking right more around [April 3] and the start of the playoff period.  Hopefully he can get some games in prior to the playoffs, but again, I’ll probably know more tomorrow on that.”

The surgery was performed in Cleveland, Ohio by Dr. Tom Graham. A conference call with Pronger is expected sometime on Thursday for a full update.

* * *
It took a third test, but the Flyers are relieved that they finally have an answer, and a clear-cut solution, as to what has been bothering Chris Pronger’s injured hand.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced to the media today that Pronger will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a fracture. A CT scan revealed a small fracture in his right hand.

Official Team Press Release // 'ON THE FLY' UPDATE

“Obviously with continued concern about what was going on in there, we went ahead more for everybody’s peace of mind, and this was discovered yesterday,” said Holmgren. “The way we’re going to deal with it, the doctors along with Chris and Jimmy McCrossin sat down and talked, and we feel going in and just putting a little screw in this little piece of bone is the best way to move forward in terms of the healing process and get him back playing as soon as possible.”

As with any injury there are the goods and certainly the bads.

The Flyers will miss Pronger for the remainder of March and a possibility for the remainder of the regular season, a crucial time when the Flyers are fighting for valuable position and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason.
Chris Pronger had been participating in team practices before the decision to have surgery was made.

Pronger has appeared in 50 games for the Flyers this season, recording four goals and 21 assists for 25 points.  He is a plus-7 on the season and leads the Flyers in average time on ice per game (22:09).   

The good news? The Flyers aren’t fighting for their playoff lives. Despite recent struggles, they still occupy the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

With that in mind, the Flyers will get their top D-man back, and back in top condition just when everything is on the line.

“I think he’ll be 100 percent,” said Holmgren. “Obviously the reason they want to put the screw in is to make it more stable.  Given the timeframe of recovery after the surgery, in three weeks, everybody thinks it’s going to be more stable than it ever was, and it takes away the risk of re-injuring it.”

In steps Nick Boynton. Acquired off waivers a day before the deadline, Boynton has stepped into his role nicely, playing in the last two games increasing his ice time from just under 12 minutes in his first outing to around 18 minutes vs. Atlanta last Saturday.

According to Holmgren the team will also recall 22-year-old Erik Gustafsson from the Phantoms for added insurance.

“I’m not sure he’ll be available for the game tomorrow, but just the fact that we’re on the road, if we run into a problem, it’s a lot easier to have a defenseman with us than trying to get somebody into Atlanta or Dallas last-minute. So we’re bringing a guy up just to kind of cover ourselves.”

It would be the third recall of Gustafsson’s career. He made his NHL debut on Feb. 26 at Ottawa, registering 16:06 of ice time.

“I thought Erik played a good game,” said Holmgren. “Thought he played real good.”

Gustafsson leads Adirondack’s defense with 26 points (5G-31A), which also ranks second on the team and leads all rookie defensemen in the American Hockey League.




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