Flyers' Pronger 50/50 for Game 3

Posted: April 16, 2011

A Flyers source said it was "50/50" that injured defenseman Chris Pronger would play Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series in Buffalo on Monday.

The Flyers, minus Pronger (again), outlasted the Sabres on Saturday, 5-4, to even the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.

In Saturday's 3-3 first period, the Flyers struggled to clear players from in front of the net - a Pronger specialty. They also continued to have problems on the power play, which misses Pronger as its quarterback.

The power play was 1 for 10 Saturday and is 1 for 15 in the series. Counting the regular season, the power play is 6 for 56 (a chilly 10.7 percent) in the last 16 games.

When Pronger had hand surgery on March 15, general manager Paul Holmgren estimated he would return in three or four weeks.

But the healing has taken longer. Tuesday will be five weeks since the surgery.

Asked before the game if he expected Pronger to play Monday, Holmgren said, "He's day-to-day."

Pronger skated Saturday, Holmgren said. Asked if Pronger was able to take any shots, Holmgren said, "He's day-to-day."

Asked to explain what was described as a "setback" last week that delayed the healing, Holmgren said, "He's day-to-day."

At the time of the surgery, Holmgren said Pronger had a tiny screw inserted into a bone in his right hand, repairing what he called a "small fracture." He added that Pronger should be at 100 percent and ready for the playoffs, if not earlier.

The screw will expedite healing, Holmgren said last month.

Doctors said the bone would be "more stable than it ever was" three weeks after the surgery, Holmgren said at the time, "and it takes away the risk of reinjuring it."

A Flyers official said there were no problems with the surgery, which was performed in Cleveland by Thomas Graham, a hand specialist who has operated on numerous pro athletes.

"It's just healing slowly. Nothing more to it," the official said.

Graham could not be reached for comment.

Scott Levin, chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said Saturday that a surgically repaired wrist bone would take six weeks to three months to heal, and that a long bone in the hand would take four to six weeks.

The Flyers would not give specific information on which bone was broken.

Pronger originally injured the hand blocking a shot against the Islanders on Feb. 24. He missed one game, then returned to the lineup and played in four straight contests. Last month, Holmgren said that in the last of those games, Pronger may have further damaged his hand - and possibly broke it - when he jammed it on the boards in a 4-1 win over Edmonton on March 8.

Hail, JVR

For the second straight playoff game, a media member selected James van Riemsdyk as the No. 1 star. In Saturday's win, the second-year winger had a goal, four shots and four hits.

"I thought he was awesome for two games, just his speed and the confidence that he has," coach Peter Laviolette said. "He reminds me a little bit of what Claude [Giroux] did in the playoffs last year. You get this experience and maturity that grows, and certainly Claude was great for us last year and has carried on that way, and JVR seems to have catapulted himself into the playoffs that way as well."

Breakaways

The six combined first-period goals equaled the most in a Flyers playoff game since a 1997 matchup with the Rangers. . . . The Flyers had a staggering 9 minutes, 49 seconds of power-play time in the second period. . . . Braydon Coburn (six) and Giroux (five) led the Flyers in hits. . . . Buffalo defenseman Andrej Sekera, who scored a first-period goal, had missed Game 1 and the last two regular-season games with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He replaced injured defenseman Shaone Morrisonn.


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull

   

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