Report: Flyers' Lilja had hip surgery

Posted: August 14, 2012

THE FLYERS' blue liners continue to drop like flies this summer, more than a month before skates are scheduled to hit the ice in training camp.

According to a report in Swedish newspaper Helsingsborgs Dagblad, as first translated by Hockeybuzz.com, Flyers defenseman Andreas Lilja underwent hip surgery last week to repair a degenerative condition that has been plaguing him for more than a year.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed the surgery on Sunday, saying that Lilja will "be ready in late October or early November."

Lilja, 37, originally suggested in the Swedish paper that he would be out of action until early December. Either way, he whittles the Flyers' number of healthy defensemen down to seven: Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn, Nick Grossmann, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson and free-agent newcomer Bruno Gervais.

Andrej Meszaros underwent surgery on a torn Achilles' last week. He is expected to miss 6-to-8 months recovering. Matt Carle bolted for Tampa Bay's $33 million in July.

Lilja had been living in his native Sweden this summer but will be returning to Philadelphia to rehab the injury under the Flyers' direction. He has 1 year remaining on his deal at $737,500.

In reality, Lilja's injury does not impact the Flyers greatly. First, there is a good chance that the season might not start on time, after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's promise last week to lock out players if there is not a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place upon the current contract's expiration on Sept. 15. And second, Lilja played sparingly, in just 46 games last season, and was often saddled behind rookies Bourdon and Gustafsson on the depth chart.

After four negotiating sessions last week, the NHL and NHLPA are set to meet this week in Toronto, where the players' first counterproposal is expected to be made on Tuesday in response to the NHL's proposed 24 percent paycut. Both sides acknowledged a "meaningful gulf" in talks.


Contact Frank Seravalli at seravaf@phillynews.com or @DNFlyers on Twitter.

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