Flyers defenseman Mike Rathje is sidelined indefinitely a herniated L5 disc in his back.
Below are comments from Rathje as well as Flyers Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim McCrossin on Saturday.
"I think it's been an ongoing issue over this past summer and last year. There was a lot of other things involved like my hip, and due to that, it's cost me and everybody a lot of time over the summer. We didn't know exactly what the problem was, and now, unfortunately, it looks like we've narrowed it down to this and unfortunately it's at the beginning of the season."
What happens next? "Monday, we are doing a test with the doctor, which hopefully will tell me exactly what the problem is."
What are you symptoms? "I had symptoms all last season and basically I can't skate as well as I can. I can't shoot as well as I can, and it really drops my play down. It's not fair to the team and it's not fair to me to be playing like that all the time."
"It has manifested over a period of time. As you know, Mike had his hip fixed over the summer months after his labrum degraded. After he had it done he was shut down for a while and he started his rehab. Everything was going fine and he didn't have the pain going down into his hamstring and lower back. Over the past few weeks it started building up and on Friday we saw Dr. Scott Rushton at Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Rushton ordered a mileogram, which is a definitive between a MRI and an X-Ray that says what we're dealing with. This should be done by Monday. We feel very comfortable; we feel it's coming from L5. Most of his pain is located in his hamstring musculature. Hopefully we get to the bottom of it and he can get back on the ice.
"Our goal is not to have it last throughout the year. One, we want to get Mike's health back so he can play at the caliber he needs to be out there. At the end of the last game he said he wasn't able to keep up. He doesn't want to play like that and we don't him playing like that, we want him healthy.
"The hip pain that he had in his groin and the pain going down through his hip is gone. His hip feels phenomenal right now. This is just isolated to the L5 nerve route."
How long will he be out?
"If it takes surgery to correct maybe four weeks. If he doesn't need surgery it is tough to say because we have been doing all of the rehab for it. It would depend on if they decide to do another nerve route injection. I can't comment on that side.
"If it's not surgery, then maybe seven-to-10 days or two weeks, tops. Our goal is for Mike to have no symptoms when he comes back."