Tag: back surgery

Chris Pronger

Chris Pronger skates for first time since back surgery; No timetable for season opener


When Chris Pronger does anything in Philadelphia it’s a big deal. That all comes with the territory of being the face of the Flyers franchise. When Pronger went in for back surgery in May, it immediately got fans worried about how things would shape up for this season and for his future in Philly.

Today Pronger took a big step in his rehabilitation as he was back on the ice skating for the first time since his operation. As CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio found out from the Flyers practice facility, things are getting better for Pronger but there’s still no timetable for his return to action.

Pronger estimated he was a “couple” weeks away from rejoining full team workouts. He will miss the start of Flyers training camp on Sept. 17 and part of camp itself, all of which was expected.

Whether Pronger is ready for the season opener Oct. 6 against the Cup champion Bruins is the larger issue. Right now, there is no timetable.

“I felt pretty good – how did I look? A little suspect going left to right or right to left?” Pronger kidded. “It’s been a while … We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

“Having not skated or done anything on the ice in 4 ½ months, you have to take it slowly and see how you feel, day-by-day. Usually, the first time on the ice you feel pretty good and then its day 2-3-4-5 that you’re a little suspect.”

Getting Pronger back in the full run of things for the Flyers is a big deal, but more importantly they want to make sure he’s fully right. The Flyers still have Pronger under contract for the next six seasons and with him being 36 years-old, getting the most out of him for the long run makes much more sense than rushing him back to action for the start of the season.

The Flyers will need Pronger to be at his best in order to make a run at the Stanley Cup this year and while they’ve made some huge moves this summer to change the culture and look of the team, Pronger is the main man for keeping order in Philly. He leads by example and takes charge on the ice as well, something that endears him to Flyers fans and makes opposing fans and players gnash their teeth. Pronger’s defensive ability is what helps the Flyers the most, however, and without him the Flyers lack that big presence on the blue line.

If Pronger isn’t ready to go by the season opener, it might be disappointing for Philadelphia but having him healthy and ready to go all season long and into the playoffs matters more in the long run. With Pronger having his sarcasm in midseason form today, he’s a lot closer to being back than ever.

Daniel Alfredsson reportedly skated for first time since undergoing back surgery today

Ottawa Senators v Washington Capitals

There isn’t a whole lot of positivity surrounding many peoples’ expectations of the Ottawa Senators next season and that logic is reasonable. After all, the Eastern Conference’s 13th-ranked team brought in journeyman backup Alex Auld, Columbus Blue Jackets first round disappointment Nikita Filatov and … well, a lot of draft picks who won’t make an impact next season (aside from maybe their first pick Mika Zibanejad). Those moves don’t exactly leave Senators fans with a whole lot of reasons for optimism.

That being said, things could be a little brighter with a new head coach in Paul MacLean, a full season with new franchise goalie Craig Anderson and perhaps even a healthy season from captain Daniel Alfredsson.

After eight straight seasons of at least 70 games played, Alfredsson’s injury-wrecked 2010-11 campaign ended in February after he made just 54 appearances. Alf decided to undergo back surgery this summer, with his rehab seemingly on track. Bruce Garrioch reports that Alfredsson skated for the first time since that surgery today, another positive sign that he might turn the corner health-wise. It sounds like Alfredsson should be able to participate in training camp as hoped, but we’ll have to see if he has any setbacks along the way.

The 38-year-old winger remains a crucial facet of the Senators’ offense alongside oft-critiqued center Jason Spezza, so a big portion of the Senators’ hopes for a competitive season may rest on his health. Then again, maybe GM Bryan Murray & Co. would prefer another rebuilding year and the strong prospects that could come with those losses next season rather than fighting for a low playoff seed, which is probably the best result the Senators can hope for in 2011-12.

Pronger still about 3 weeks away from serious training

Edmonton Oilers v Philadelphia Flyers

Chris Pronger spoke to TSN Radio on Wednesday and revealed that he’s still about three weeks away from cranking up his off-season workouts. The 37-year-old had three surgeries last season, missed the beginning of the season, the end of the season, time in the playoffs, and may miss the beginning of training camp in September. He only scored 4 goals and 21 points in 50 games last season. Statistically, it was the worst season Pronger has experienced since he was breaking in with the Hartford Whalers in the mid-1990s.

The good news for fans is that Pronger had played all 82 games in both of the two preceding seasons. Regardless, when a physical defenseman gets into his late 30’s and starts having injury problems, people are going to start asking questions. Was the 2010-11 season an aberration or a sign of things to come?

Here’s a sampling of what Pronger said to the guys at TSN:

“I’m still probably three, three and a half weeks away from being able to train hard. I’m still walking on the treadmill, light bike riding. The back doctor wanted 12 weeks for me not doing a whole lot to allow that back area to scar up and then fully heal up before I start torquing and pushing on it hard,” said Pronger, who needed to remove a herniated disc that caused him back and leg problems.


“You want to win, you want to get back to the top and hold the Stanley Cup and go through that year of blood, sweat and tears with your teammates, and accomplishing something that very few people have an opportunity to do. Hopefully the rest of the summer goes well, and I continue to get healthy and things go in the right direction for me there,” he said. “We got off to a good start after a long grind of the playoffs from the previous year. Whether we hit a wall or whatever halfway through the year after Christmas, we just didn’t seem to get any better. We didn’t continue to push ourselves for whatever reason. It was almost like our development got stunted and we almost got worse.”

It’s no secret that the Flyers need a healthy Chris Pronger if they want to achieve the goals they set each season. This isn’t a team that is looking to make the playoffs or win a series—this is a team that wants to get back to the Stanley Cup Final and finish what they started the spring of 2010. Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle, and Andrej Meszaros are all nice pieces, but without Chris Pronger anchoring the defense for 28 minutes per game in the playoffs, there’s an enormous void on the blueline that changes the entire complexion of the team. It doesn’t matter if they have a new star goaltender or not—they’ll still need to have Pronger shutting down opponents like he’s been doing for almost two decades.

The hint of panic around the Flyers is the fear that Pronger will never be the same player that he was when he was first acquired from the Ducks. His salary cap hit is almost $5 million and since he signed the contract after he turned 35, the contract will remain on the books whether he continues to play or retires before his contract ends in 2017. Sure, GM Paul Holmgren has proven he can magically make almost any salary work, but things could be a little different if they’re paying $5 million over multiple years for a player who has retired.

Of course, no one is saying Pronger is going to retire due to his current back injury. But with his body starting to break down and six more years left on his contract, will he really finish out the contract? One day down the road, we may see the ugly side of some of these long-term contract rear its ugly head for Philadelphia. That is, unless Pronger chooses to play as his body breaks down when the Flyers are only paying him the league minimum.

Daniel Alfredsson will undergo back surgery on Friday, could take 4-6 weeks to recover

Daniel Alfredsson

Much like the team he leads, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson fought through a rough campaign 2010-11 season. Injuries were a big reason he had such a tough year, as lower back issues contributed to a short 54-game season that ended in February.

Even when he was on the ice, he wasn’t his typically effective self. Alfredsson scored 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in those 54 games, with a career-worst -19 rating. That last figure was the most troubling; even if the team around him was often weak, “Alf” is known for being a player who is almost as defensively responsible as he is offensively potent.

Injuries and old age seem to be creeping up on the standout Swede. TSN reports that Alfredsson will undergo surgery on his back on Friday, with the recovery process expected to take about four to six weeks.

If that timetable is accurate, Alfredsson should probably be able to rehab in time for training camp. The Senators probably hope that their captain can play until his contract expires after the 2012-13 season. He’ll register a $4.875 million annual salary cap hit for the next two seasons, but will receive just $4.5 million in salary in 2011-12 and $1 million in ’12-13.

We’ll keep an eye on any announcements about the surgery and his recovery process. Sometimes these things take more time to heal than expected, especially with aging players such as Alfredsson.

Pronger problems: Chris Pronger to have back surgery to remove herniated disc

Chris Pronger
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When the Flyers bowed out of the postseason meekly against the Bruins, one prime time figure that proved not to be a factor at all was Chris Pronger. Pronger played just a couple games against Buffalo in the first round and only Game 1 against Boston as he was coming off a broken hand injury at the end of the season.

When Pronger missed out on the rest of the Flyers’ series with Boston, it was believed that there was something else amiss for the hulking defenseman. Pronger was quizzed about that as the team packed up for the summer but he wasn’t sure what, if anything, he’d do about it in the offseason. As it turns out, he’s going to get things taken care of right away as he’ll be having surgery on his back on Thursday to have a herniated disc removed.

CSN Philly has the details on what’s ailing the irascible defenseman.

Pronger, who missed the last three games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Bruins, is scheduled to have a procedure called a discectomy, which will be performed by orthopedic specialist Frank Cammisa at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The Flyers’ 36-year-old defenseman was reported to have been experiencing pain in his back and leg, and he saw specialists earlier this week to determine their origin.

The operation sounds nasty, but clearly having a repaired and healthy Pronger ready for next season and beyond is far more important for the team than anything else. With the Flyers on the hook for Pronger up through the 2016-2017 season they need to keep him as healthy as possible since Pronger’s deal is a 35+ contract, Pronger’s $4.921 million cap hit stays on their books unless he’s traded.

It’s tough to keep mentioning that contract because it did seem so crazy at the time it was signed and seems worse now with Pronger coming off an injury-filled season and playoffs, but those are the realities of the salary cap world when you’re an older player. We don’t doubt that Pronger will bust his tail to get back in shape and healthy, we question how effective he’ll be when it’s all said and done.