No surgery needed for Bryzgalov

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was hit Monday during warm-ups. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov was hit Monday during warm-ups. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer (Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov)
Posted: March 28, 2012

The Flyers appear to have dodged a possible parade-killing bullet.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has a small chip fracture in his right foot, which was revealed by an MRI exam on Tuesday after two separate sets of X-rays showed nothing.

The fracture does not require surgery, and Bryzgalov - one of the NHL's hottest goaltenders - could be playing again this weekend.

"We don't think this is a serious injury," Holmgren said. "It's a chip off a weight-bearing bone, and the doctor has said it'll be absorbed back into his system and there's no real risk here at all [to play]. It's just he's in a little bit of pain right now."

Bryzgalov, 31, will not practice Wednesday or fly with the team to Toronto for Thursday night's game. He could return to practice as early as Friday. Sergei Bobrovsky will make just his second start since Feb. 12, and Jason Bacashihua will be recalled to sit as his backup.

Holmgren said the injury occurred in warm-ups Monday night when a puck shot by teammate Jakub Voracek hit Bryzgalov "in an exposed part of his foot." Bryzgalov had X-rays taken with his skate on, to prevent swelling, immediately after warm-ups and said he wanted to play.

Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 14 shots by Tampa Bay, by far his worst performance of March, but Holmgren said they had little to do with the injury.

"I watched the game. I didn't see any issues," the GM said. "The goals they scored were good goals, ones you can't really fault him on. I don't have any issues with how he played the game and I don't think his foot was an issue during the game."

Now, with the Flyers likely locked into the Eastern Conference's No. 5 seed anyway, it might not be such a bad time for Bryzgalov to get rest. He had started 19 of the Flyers' last 20 games, logging a 10-2-1 record in March with a sterling .946 save percentage.

Holmgren said he isn't worried that missed time will hurt Bryzgalov's rhythm heading into the playoffs.

"He's played a lot over the last little while here. He's missed days in practice and he hasn't lost his rhythm," Holmgren said. "I'm not worried about that. Obviously, there's a little bit of concern with the pain and the swelling, but Ilya's a tough kid, he wants to play, and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with the team at practice on Friday."

Two Philadelphia orthopedic experts - Steven Raikin, a foot and ankle specialist from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Brian Sennett, chief of sports medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania - weighed in on Bryzgalov's injury. Both surgeons seemed to be as unconcerned as Holmgren.

"If it is a completely stable fracture, and it is not near a tendon, which could displace the fracture, there is very little risk of future injury," Raikin said. "Usually, with an injury like this, pain is managed with ice and protection."

Raikin said the swelling may take two to three days to subside, though he recognized that a goaltender - with side-to-side movement on the ice - might require a little more time than another player.

"The swelling can be a bit of an issue. When a bone is chipped, blood literally comes out, causing the swelling," Sennett explained. "That can make it hard to put a skate on, because the area will be tender. It's no different than banging two rocks together and watching a little piece fleck off. But my gut feeling is that if he was able to play the rest of the game, that it's a great sign he will be able to handle the pain."

Timonen out

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen will miss at least Thursday's game in Toronto as he continues to manage his chronic lower-back pain.

Timonen, 36, missed five games from March 4 to 11 when his 248-game ironman streak was broken because of the same injury.

The Flyers will recall Marc-Andre Bourdon, who is finally healthy, to make the trip to Toronto.

Brown update

After signing draft pick Nick Cousins, a center, to a three-year, entry-level deal on Monday, the Flyers would like to add another prospect to the fold this week in coveted undrafted free agent J.T. Brown.

Brown is expected to make a decision on a team Wednesday or Thursday. Boston and Tampa Bay reportedly are also in the mix.

Brown, 21, recently wrapped up his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota-Duluth with 24 goals and 23 assists in 39 games - good for 12th in the nation in scoring. The winger is the son of former Vikings running back Ted Brown.

Sophomore defenseman Dan DeKeyser announced that he will remain at Western Michigan for at least another year. DeKeyser revealed Tuesday that 15 to 20 teams had contacted him.

Honor for Snider

Flyers chairman Ed Snider, 79, will receive the President's Distinguished Alumnus Award at the University of Maryland on April 14. Snider is a 1955 graduate.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com or @DNFlyers on Twitter. Read his blog, "Frequent Flyers," at www.philly.com/frequentflyers

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