Pronger skates for first time since April

The Flyers' Chris Pronger skated Friday for the first time since April 30. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Chris Pronger laced up his skates on Friday for the first time since April 30, when Pronger made a last ditch effort with a wonky back and wrist to try and defeat the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

In April, that didn’t work out so well.

Friday was a different story.

“It’s been a while,” Pronger said after the brisk skate, which did not include full equipment. “Having not skated and done anything in four and a half months, you need to take it slowly and see how you feel day-by-day.”

Pronger, set to turn 37 next month, was cleared by a doctor on Wednesday in St. Louis to resume skating after two offseason surgeries that brought his total number of operations to five over the last calendar year. Including three valiant postseason attempts, his 53 appearances last season were his fewest since 2002-03.

The Flyers are set to open rookie camp on Monday and veterans report to camp on Sept. 17, just a few days shy of their preseason opener on Sept. 20 in Toronto.

Pronger is not sure whether he will be ready for the season opener on Oct. 6 in Boston – and he definitely won’t be ready for the start of training camp.

Pronger said he felt “pretty good out there,” during the workout, which included slap shots ringing off the glass. Pronger said he was “a little surprised” how good he felt, adding that the real test though was not today but how is body reacts.

“I think I’ll just see how I feel tomorrow,” Pronger said. “The first time on the ice is when you feel good, but it’s usually days three, four and five when you feel suspect.

“I’ll probably wear my gear next time … and try and ramp things up from there.”

Either way, Friday was an important step – er, stride – in the right direction. No exercise, which Pronger has done prudently throughout the summer, can match the intensity and strain of on-ice skating.

“It’s different muscles,” Pronger said. “It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, Stairmaster, bike, or what have you. You use a lot of different muscles that you don’t normally use. It’s completely different. In order to get in game shape, you’ve got to skate.”

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