Bryzgalov sidelined with chip fracture in right foot

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 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 on 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 only his second start since Feb. 12, and Jason Bacashihua will be recalled as his backup.

Holmgren said Bryzgalov was hit in warmups on Monday night "in an exposed part of his foot" by teammate Jake Voracek. Bryzgalov had X-rays taken with his skate on, to prevent swelling, immediately after warmups and said he wanted to play.

Bryzgalov let in four goals on 14 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning, 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," Holmgren 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 fifth seed anyway, it might not be such a bad time for Bryzgalov to get rest. He had started 19 of the Flyers' previous 20 games, collecting a 10-2-1 record in March with a sterling .947 save percentage.

Holmgren said he isn't worried missed time affecting 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-area orthopedic experts - Dr. Steven Raikin, a foot and ankle specialist from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Dr. Brian Sennett, chief of sports medicine from the Hospital at the University of Philadelphia - weighed in on Bryzgalov's injury. Both seemed 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 could take 2 to 3 days to subside, though he recognized that a goaltender - with side-to-side movement on the ice - may require a little more time than another positional 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

Buried in the wake of Bryzgalov's injury is the news that defenseman Kimmo Timonen will miss at least Thursday's game in Toronto as he continues to manage his chronic lower-back pain.

Timonen, 37, missed five games from March 4-11 when his 248-game ironman streak was broken with the same injury.

"This is kind of a maintenance thing we had planned," Holmgren said. "He can take this day off, he doesn't have to fly up, he doesn't have to play in the game. He can rest and get ready to play on the weekend."

The Flyers will recall Marc-Andre Bourdon, who is finally healthy in his own right, to make the trip to Toronto. They will have seven defensemen on the trip, including Andreas Lilja, who is day-to-day with his own "upper-body" injury. If Lilja can play against Toronto, Holmgren said the Flyers will then decide to reassign either Erik Gustafsson or Bourdon back to Adirondack.

Brown update

After signing draft pick Nick Cousins to a 3-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.

According to a source close to the situation, Brown is expected to decide on a team Wednesday or Thursday. The Daily News reported Monday that the Flyers are a finalist to land Brown. ESPN's John Buccigross reported Tuesday that the Bruins and Lightning 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 - 12th in the nation in scoring. He is the son of former Vikings running back Ted Brown.

Another free agent the Flyers were after, sophomore defenseman Dan DeKeyser, announced that he will remain at Western Michigan for at least another year. DeKeyser revealed on Tuesday that 15 to 20 teams 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, a 1955 graduate, will be presented with one of Maryland's highest honors by university president Wallace Loh.


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

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