Flyers' Pronger to miss start of camp

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger underwent knee surgery on July 27. He said he might not be ready for the season opener on Oct. 7.
Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger underwent knee surgery on July 27. He said he might not be ready for the season opener on Oct. 7.
Posted: August 12, 2010

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger said Wednesday that he would definitely not be 100 percent healthy for the start of training camp on Sept. 17 and may not be able to play in the season opener on Oct. 7 in Pittsburgh.

Responding to questions posed by the Flyers' communications department, Pronger said that knee surgery he underwent on July 27 was successful but that he did not want to return to action before he is fully recovered.

He does not know when that will be.

"I hope to be in the lineup on Oct. 7, but it is still very early on in the process to begin guessing on a time frame," Pronger said Wednesday as he worked out with Jim McCrossin, the Flyers' athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach, at the Skate Zone in Voorhees.

"A lot can happen over the next few weeks and months," Pronger said, "but absolutely that is one of the goals."

Pronger underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to remove some "loose bodies floating around in there," he said. He said he hurt the knee early in overtime in Game 1 against Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I was in front of the net when there was a scrum," he said. "I was on my knees, and I got bent backward. I heard a big crunch."

Pronger, who will turn 36 on Oct. 10, had the knee drained a couple of times after that and sat out practice for the rest of the playoffs. But his knee remained swollen and tight, and he did not have his usual range of motion or strength in it.

"It was obviously an issue," he said.

But, Pronger added, he was not a liability on the ice. "I think my play speaks for itself," he said.

Pronger had four goals, 14 assists, and 36 penalty minutes in the playoffs and averaged about 30 minutes of ice time as the Flyers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals in six games.

Pronger said he realized he needed surgery this summer while he was on vacation. So he cut his vacation short, had a second MRI exam, and went in for surgery a week later.

Now he is focusing on his rehab.

"Obviously there is a lot of atrophy," he said. "I haven't really had a chance to do anything in two months. . . . Right now it's just about building the muscle back up and going from there."

Although Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said earlier this month that he expected Pronger to be ready for the start of training camp, Pronger said, "I do not have a time frame. . . . I don't want to come back early and play a couple of games and then be out of the lineup and then play a few more and be out. . . . I want to come back when the knee is as close to 100 percent as possible so I can play every single game from then on."

Pronger joined the Flyers before last season, and his seven-year, $34.45 million contract is still being investigated by the league.


Contact staff writer Gary Miles

at 215-854-4487 or gmiles@phillynews.com.

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