Pronger to undergo surgery, miss 4 to 6 weeks

Chris Pronger will miss four to six weeks with a broken bone in his right foot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

  The Flyers announced that defenseman Chris Pronger will have foot surgery today and be sidelined for four to six weeks.

  In that time frame, he would miss 11 to 17 games. He may be able to return in time for the All-Star Game on Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C.

  Injured in Wednesday's 5-3 win in Montreal, Pronger, 36, will have surgery at 1 p.m. to repair a broken first metatarsal in his right foot, GM Paul Holmgren said. Steven Raikin will perform the surgery.

   "He's a guy you don't want to be too long without, but these things are going to happen," said defenseman Sean O'Donnell, one of Pronger's closest friends. "We're going to need him in the spring and hopefully into June, so this may be a blessing in disguise to kind of give him some rest and let us pick up the slack for a little bit."

    At today's practice, Andrej Meszaros was with Pronger's defensive partner, Matt Carle. The other pairings had O'Donnell with Oskars Bartulis, who has played just three games, and Braydon Coburn with Kimmo Timonen.

   Bartulis has not played since Nov. 1.

   Pronger seemed a cinch to make the all-star team, but he may not be ready for the contest. He is a six-time all-star.

  The Flyers also announced that defenseman Matt Walker had successful hip surgery Thursday; he was placed on the LTIR list and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

   Holmgren said the team had no plans to recall a defenseman, such as Danny Syvret, from the AHL Phantoms. The Flyers have enough cap space to recall a player, and they opened a roster spot by placing Pronger on the injured-reserve list.

   While Bartulis will be added to the defense, the Flyers will also make changes on the PP. Mike Richards is expected to drop back to Pronger's point spot, and another forward will be added _ perhaps Nik Zherdev.

   The Flyers host the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon.

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