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Pronger begins rehab

by Joe Siville / Philadelphia Flyers
Chris Pronger will not be operating at 100 percent when the Flyers open training camp at the Virtua Center Flyers Skatezone on Friday Sept. 17.

He is currently recovering and rehabbing at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. following his surgery to remove "loose bodies" from his knee area on July 27 at Virtua Hospital by Dr. Peter DeLuca.

Pronger decided on having surgery while vacationing early in the summer resulting from an injury that occurred during the overtime period of Game 1 at Boston on May 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman works with Athletic Trainer/Strength & Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin to rehab from his knee surgery on July 27.

“I wanted to stay on top of it and make sure that once my body had enough time to rest and recover I would be able to start training again,” said Pronger. “As we continued to go through the steps to get the swelling down and get my range of motion back, my knee started to flair up again.”

At that point I knew there had to be something wrong. I came back early from vacation to get another MRI and had the surgery a week later.  I started rehab on Monday (Aug. 9).  We are in the very, very early stages of rehab and just trying to get my range of motion and strength back. I haven’t really had a chance to do anything in two months. A lot of atrophy took place during this time. Right now it’s just about building the muscle back up and going from there.”

Fans and opposing teams may not have even noticed as Pronger, who led the Flyers in average ice time per game (25:55) during the regular season, picked up his pace in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, averaging over 29 minutes of ice time to lead all players in the postseason.

However Pronger knew right away and could even pin-point exactly what shift it occurred.

“It was a three-minute shift to start the overtime in Game 1 against Boston. About a minute in I was in front of the net when there was a scrum.  I was on my knees and I got bent backward. I heard a big crunch.  It didn’t feel very good for the next 5-7 minutes. Eventually the feeling came back and I was able to get a little bit of strength back, but from that game on I didn’t have the usual strength in my knee.”

Moving forward from there it was obviously an issue,” said Pronger. “I had to get it drained a couple of times.  It was pretty swollen through the course of the playoffs, but that’s the nature of the game.”

And that nature of the game led to Pronger to play through the injury and play successfully to help lead the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.

“We did a lot of things through the rest of the playoffs to try and keep my strength up.  I didn’t practice any more after that.  I just played the games.  I just tried to maintain it, rest it and drain it.  We also tried to keep it as strong as possible through different methods that the trainer [Jimmy McCrossin] and I implemented.”

Following Game 1 vs. Boston, Pronger saw ice time of over 27 minutes in 14 of the remaining 17 games, including the final eight games and all six games of the Stanley Cup Final.

In fact, he averaged over 30 minutes on five occasions and even 37:33 of time-on-ice just six days later in Game 4 of the semifinal series, which was decided in overtime and kicked off the Flyers’ historic comeback vs. the Bruins.

“It was a little tighter.  I didn’t quite have the range of motion.  But I think my play speaks for itself.  Let’s leave it at that.”

With last year behind him, now the question remains will he be ready for opening night? And when exactly will he be 100 percent?

“I do not have a time frame. The team knows that.  I spoke to the doctor and trainer and it is really just about when my knee feels good and strong again.  I don’t want to come back early and play a couple of games and then be out of the line-up and then play a few more and be out.  I want to come back when the knee is as close to 100 percent as possible so I can play every single game from then on.”
Which may or may not include Oct. 7 when the Flyers travel to Pittsburgh to open the 2010-11 season.

“I hope to be in the lineup but it is still very early on in the process to begin guessing on a timeframe.  A lot can happen over the next few weeks and months but absolutely that is one of the goals.”

Given Pronger’s track record (over 1,100 NHL games, 660 points and 500 assists, including three Stanley Cup Final appearances, two gold medals, one Hart Memorial Trophy and James Norris Trophy, and let’s not forget one Stanley Cup ring), one would say that his chances of reaching any goal he sets out to accomplish are pretty darn good.
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