PRONGER GOING UNDER KNIFE AGAIN
O.K., so maybe one doesn't have much to do with the other, but the latest injury - and fourth surgery for Pronger in less than a year's time - will keep him out of action for at least another month - putting his appearance in the Winter Classic in question.
Of course, the way injuries are going for Pronger at age 37, maybe he should start considering returning for the alumni game.
All rim shots aside, this is not a palatable predicament in which the Flyers find themselves.
Pronger has already missed time this season with an eye injury and a virus and now this knee issue, that seemed to come out of the blue a little bit.
"This has been an issue probably for the last month or so for him that's been nagging," general manager Paul Holmgren said in making the announcement. "He's been playing through it up until his recent bout with his virus. We had believed that through continued rehabilitation and some medicine that it would start to feel better, but Chris saw the doctor yesterday, had another MRI and we just decided that this was the time to go and get this taken care of."
Pronger has what Holmgren termed as "loose bodies" in his left knee that are causing him pain and discomfort. While saying that anytime any player has surgery, there is a concern from an organizational standpoint, Holmgren feels confident that this is a minor surgery that won't affect Pronger long-term despite his age.
"The structure of his knee is fine," Holmgren said. "He's got good cartilage on both sides of that knee, so this is just kind of a maintenance thing more than anything and to get him a little more comfortable.
"We're worried because he's (having) surgery, yes, but long-term I still think Chris has a lot of miles left on his body, and based on his attitude about this and the way he takes care of himself and prepares, I think he'll be fine."
Holmgren insisted Pronger would have been playing in the games he missed despite the knee injury if it weren't for the virus zapping his health.
"The reason he missed games was because of the virus," Holmgren said. "This (knee situation)came up just recently - (Sunday) - and we decided the best way to attack this is with surgery now. He'd been missing games with the virus. It had nothing to do with the knee."
The Flyers are likely going have to pursue the possibility of trading for a veteran defenseman this week, as the team isn't comfortable going a hefty segment of the season with Phantoms call ups Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall (who is being recalled).
Holmgren added that Pronger and Andreas Lilja (high ankle sprain) will both be placed on the long-term injury list, which means they must miss a minimum of 10 games or 25 days, whichever comes first.
Couple that with the placing of forward Andreas Nodl on waivers and the Flyers suddenly have a lot of salary allowance to play with.
The Flyers now have $4,261,767 in available space, and that's after recalling Marshall and Brayden Schenn, who is ready to return to the lineup from his broken left foot.
If Nodl is claimed on waivers or sent back to the Phantoms, the Flyers cap space would creep up over $5 million.
That means the Flyers could, in fact, acquire a significant salary, and not just a stopgap defenseman - if there were one available on the trade front.
"We're talking about a lot of things here," Holmgren said. "I think initially we'll probably just recall Kevin and try to figure out where we're at."