A team source with knowledge of the situation told the Daily News that Pronger, who will be re-evaluated by Dr. Steven Raikin on Wednesday, is scheduled to join the Flyers on their road trip in Boston and continue on to Atlanta and New York to get back in the practice routine.
Pronger's tentative return to the lineup is Jan. 18 against the Washington Capitals, which would be a little more than 4 1/2 weeks into his original 4- to 6-week time frame.
Pronger, 36, originally hinted just after his surgery that he could use the All-Star Game break from Jan. 27-Feb. 1 as an extra buffer in the schedule to allow for more healing. Now it looks as if Pronger might be ready for the game. While the All-Star Game is the least of his concerns, Pronger finished fourth in fan voting with 292,944 votes.
"It's still very early," Pronger said yesterday. "I guess the next step would be skating with my teammates and incorporating a couple pucks and some bodies.
"Just getting on the ice, there is going to be some pain and some throbbing, but the doctor said how quickly that subsides will gauge how it's doing." *