PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers were hoping to have defenseman Chris Pronger back before the end of the regular season, but GM Paul Holmgren has all but squashed that idea. Holmgren said Thursday that Pronger has suffered a "minor setback" in his recovery from right hand surgery and will likely not play again until the start of the playoffs.
"We were hoping he'd be able to play some games at the end of the regular season but I would think that's more than likely out of the equation now," Holmgren said following the Flyers' 1-0 loss to Atlanta at Wells Fargo Center. "We're not going to be real aggressive at this point. Obviously the playoffs are more important right now."
Holmgren said the doctors believe Pronger will be 100 percent when the playoffs begin on April 13. He has played in 170 playoff games and has won a Stanley Cup, so Holmgren isn't concerned that missing the final 16 games of the regular season will hurt Pronger in the first round.
"The doctors seem confident that everything will be OK by then," Holmgren said.
Pronger hasn't played since March 8 and he had a pin surgically inserted into his broken right hand on March 14. At that point it was estimated that he would miss three to four weeks, but Pronger began practicing just a week after surgery and was even taking shots. Last week he was seen in front of the net trying to deflect pucks during a morning skate.
"He hasn't done much in terms of rehab on his hand in the last few days," Holmgren said.
Holmgren believes Pronger was too eager to return and pushed himself "too quickly in the rehab.
"But Chris, he wants to play, and maybe he got the cart a little bit ahead of the horse there."