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Knee surgery idles Pronger for four weeks

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who already has missed four games due to a virus, now will miss a month to recover from knee surgery.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said Monday that Pronger will have surgery Tuesday on his left knee.

"Chris will have surgery on his left knee (Tuesday) afternoon," said Holmgren. "The surgery will be performed by Dr. Peter DeLuca. The procedure will clean out some loose particles that have given Chris some problems over the last month or so.

"We were hopeful that the time missed with a virus that Chris has been fighting would settle things down in his knee, but after an examination (Sunday), it was decided that the surgery is the way to go at this time. We expect Chris will be back playing in four weeks."

Holmgren said he intends to place Pronger and defenseman Andreas Lilja, who will miss about six weeks with a high ankle sprain suffered Friday against Montreal, on long-term injured reserve.

The team also announced it had placed forward Andreas Nodl on waivers, and had recalled top forward prospect Brayden Schenn and defenseman Kevin Marshall from their American Hockey League team, the Adirondack Phantoms.

This will mark the third extended absence for Pronger already this season. He missed six games after getting hit in the eye with a stick during an Oct. 24 game against Toronto, as well as the current absence due to the virus.

Pronger has 12 points in 13 games this season.

If he returns four weeks from the date of surgery -- Dec. 27 -- he'll miss an additional 12 games. If his rehabilitation runs longer, he will be in danger of missing the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the New York Rangers on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

This marks the second straight injury-plagued season for Pronger, who played just 50 regular-season games and three Stanley Cup Playoff games last season due to injuries to his knee, foot, hand and back.

Holmgren, however, said he isn't worried about the long-timer future of the 37-year-old blueliner.

"I think Chris is a player who takes good care of himself, looks after himself, does the proper rehabilitation and conditioning to stay in top shape," said Holmgren. "Long-term, I still think Chris has a lot of miles left on his body. Based on his attitude about this and the way he takes care of himself, I believe he'll be fine."

As far as his team's defense corps goes, Holmgren said Marshall likely will be with the team for the three-game road trip that starts Friday in Anaheim. In addition to healthy veterans Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Andrej Meszaros, the Flyers also are carrying rookie Marc-Andre Bourdon.

"I think initially we'll just recall Kevin and try to figure out where we're at at that point," said Holmgren. "That's kind of the way we're leaning."

Philadelphia does have a veteran option in the AHL in Matt Walker, but he would have to clear waivers to be recalled.

Adding Schenn comes after a three-game return to the AHL following a month out of action with a broken foot. Schenn had 2 goals and 2 assists in the three games.

"He was in town today to get a follow-up on his foot with Dr. (Steve) Raikin and everything looks good there," said Holmgren. "He made it through the three games so we will recall Brayden."

Schenn could see lots of ice time, as Holmgren said forwards Jaromir Jagr (lower body) and James van Riemsdyk (upper body) remain questionable for Friday's game.

"Jaromir skated (Monday) and we'll take it a day at a time with him," said Holmgren. "James did not skate today. There's a chance Jaromir could play here on the upcoming weekend. James is probably a long shot right now."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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