Two weeks to the day, Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger talks about the back injury that kept him out of the remaining three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Boston and the subsequent surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.
The below is PART ONE of the official Q & A Pronger held with the media this morning via conference call:
Q: How did the surgery go and how are you feeling?
“Well, as far as I was told it went very well. It relieved a lot of the weakness I was having in my leg and now it is just a matter of how the nerve regenerates itself and the range of motion and all the rest of that stuff. How it recovers and that stuff are probably another four to five weeks before we see where that is at.”
Q: Can you tell us about the decision to have the surgery, was that an option you were given or was it pretty clear you had to have it?
“It was an option, but in order for me to try and play hockey again it was pretty cut and dry. I could have went through the whole summer rehab and you know, get another steroid injection and see if that calms the nerve down, but it was a pretty bad herniated disc. The odds of it becoming an issue again were very high. In my estimation it wasn’t really that high of a chance of not having the surgery done if I wanted to play anymore.”
Q: Was this the first time you’ve had issue with your back? I didn’t notice any other problems that you have had in your career.
“No, this is the first time I have ever really had any real problems with my back, obviously you get sore and whatever, but any serious or medical issues, no this is the first time.”
Q: Did the doctors say you were going to be back at full strength or is this going to reduce your play at all?
“Well, like anything else, especially with the back, there’s no guarantee, and that was one of the things we wanted to find out when I went and met with the doctor and what his recommendations are and what he has seen. Everybody is different and everybody recovers differently and you hope that you’re able to recover a hundred percent, but that’s never a guarantee and you never know. It’s still very early to be able to tell that. I won’t know that until probably training camp or maybe even further on.”
Q: I know you’re not a doctor but for the laymen and all… from how I understand it there’s an extrapolation up against your nerve. What did they do to repair it? Did they remove it or shave it?
“Actually, I think they cut it, trim it, whatever terminology you want to use, shave it, I’m not sure of the exact term that you can use. Basically, they removed the impingement that is pushing against the nerve root in order to alleviate, we can call it vibrations, sensations, weakness that you have in your leg and you hope that that nerve. You know the reason you want to do it as quickly as possible from what I got from my meeting with the doctor was you don’t want the nerve exposed to that too long. It just creates more and more damage and you want that nerve to be able to regenerate so that you can get as much strength back as possible.”
Q: A couple guys on your team said that even though you guys were eliminated two rounds earlier this year they actually think that you are closer to a Stanley Cup right now then you were last year. Do you agree with that assessment?
“Yeah, I think when you look at the strides that some of our younger guys have made. You look at how Claude Giroux improved immensely this year. You look at James van Riemsdyk from the beginning of the year and how he finished the year, he made leaps and bounds in how he played. You look at things like that, as we all know a lot of what happens for teams is the health factor and how guys are. Last year we were fairly healthy, especially on the back end we were real healthy. We obviously went through a ton of goalies through injury and up front we had a number of guys hurt, but if we can stay healthy next year I certainly feel we definitely have a chance just like we did this year and I thought we did last year as well.”
Pronger appeared in just three games for the Flyers in the 2011 Playoffs.
Q: Chris, do you think that it is important for this team to get a goalie and bridge that gap for [Sergei] Bobrovsky?
“Well as we all know, it’s never easy. When I was in St. Louis, it was always we need to get a goalie, we needed to get a goalie, we needed to do this, we needed to do that. They don’t grow on trees, even the ones you get you never know. You just don’t know. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. That’s the difficult part of it. What do you have to give up to get one? What are the ramifications for your team? Again, that’s above my pay grade, I don’t know what we’re going to do, who you’re going to get, or how you are going to get them. That’s for management and ownership to decide what they’re willing to do. You could go get whoever, you name a guy, you could go get him. It’s not a guarantee that you’re going to win.”
Q: Do you think it would have been a different series if you had played against the Bruins?
“I don’t know. You know what, I’d like to think so, but I don’t know. I am not going to look into the past and say could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. We lost plain and simple. I didn’t play, I was hurt. End of story. You guys have got to cut the cord and move on. No more arm-chair quarterbacking.”