|Ray Emery will miss approximately six weeks with an abdominal tear. (Getty Images) |
(Philadelphia, PA) - Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ray Emery will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn muscle in his lower abdominal wall and is expected to be out for approximately six weeks, the club announced on Tuesday.
Flyers G.M. Paul Holmgren met with the media prior to the team’s game against the Islanders, and explained what happened to Emery, who signed as a free agent over the summer. FlyersTV
“It’s been bothering Ray probably since before mid-November, and it’s gotten progressively worse,” said Holmgren. “The tests and the MRIs and everything that we had done showed the tear in his abdominal wall.
“We tried to approach it through rehab and through cortisone injections and stuff like that. It just wasn’t progressive to the point where [we] or Ray felt comfortable moving forward, so we decided to move ahead and get this surgery done.”
Emery was emotional when he met with the media following the 6-2 win over New York. He tried to battle through the injury in the hopes it would just go away, but that turned out to be impossible.
"I want to play and I want to help my team. If they want me in there I was willing to be in there," he said. "But it's a case where you're hoping the next day you're going to wake up and it's going to feel a bit better and gradually get to the point where you're feeling 100 percent. I got a couple shots, I tried taking days off and different things and it just wasn't working."
Neither Holmgren nor Emery were unable to point to a specific game in which Emery hurt himself, but both said that it was a factor in his recent shaky play after he got off to an outstanding start to the regular season.
“You guys who follow the team on a regular basis know how hard he practices. In my opinion, he couldn’t practice the way he normally practices, and I think his game suffered,” said Holmgren.
"It's not to say that I didn't go in there feeling like I wasn't capable of playing solid for the team, but it was to the point where that wasn't happening and it was the result of what was bugging me," added Emery.
Brian Boucher will get the majority of the playing time with Emery out, and will be backed up by Johan Backlund, who was recalled from the Adirondack Phantoms prior to the game. Holmgren expects Backlund to get some playing time at some point, with the Flyers playing 11 games in the next 21 days alone.
“Given the schedule, I would say [Backlund] probably will [play] at some point,” he said of the Swedish native, who has yet to appear in an NHL game. “We’re in a stretch now where we’re playing literally four games a week for the next two weeks, so it’s a difficult stretch.
“You never know until you stick a guy in how he’s going to do. It’s not like he’s a young kid, Johan, he’s  years old. If the coaches decide they’re going to play him, I have no problem with that."
Still, the general manager will explore his options.
“We’ll look around to see what’s available,” he said.
Emery, 27, has an 11-8-1 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and .901 save percentage, including one shutout, in 21 appearances with the Flyers this season.
Dr. William Meyers from Hahnemann University Hospital will perform the surgery.