Pronger to have surgery

Chris Pronger will have surgery on his hand and will likely miss 3-4 weeks. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Paul Holmgren said the MRI done on Chris Pronger's hand showed nothing.

The x-rays, done while his teammates were still on the ice after blocking a shot on Feb. 24 against the Islanders, was negative.

Yet Pronger was still experiencing pain, even after returning for three games.

He knew there was a deeper issue hidden under the tissue in his right hand. He was right.

Pronger knows his body best.

As a result of findings in a CT scan on Sunday - the last unturned stone in medicinal technology - doctors found a small fracture in his hand. Pronger will have surgery in Cleveland on Tuesday morning.

Dr. Tom Graham, a noted hand and wrist specialist, will perform the surgery.

Pronger is expected to miss 3-4 weeks of action, though Holmgren said that estimation is conservative.

Holmgren said he doesn't expect Pronger to miss any time in the playoffs, which will start on April 12 or 13.

“Right now we think three to four weeks, we feel we’re in the right frame of mind there," Holmgren said. "I’ll probably know a little bit more tomorrow on how things go, but based on the information we’re getting from the doctors and what they see and what they think is going to take place during the surgery, that timeframe is accurate."

The good news is that since it is a hand injury, and does not effect his lower body, Pronger will be able to maintain his skating shape. He is expected to be available to return skating as soon as next weekend.

The goal of the surgery is to not only promote healing, but to also protect to bone and prevent re-injury.

“I think he’ll be 100 percent," Holmgren said. "Obviously the reason they want to put the screw in is to make it more stable.  Given the timeframe of recovery after the surgery, in three weeks, everybody thinks it’s going to be more stable than it ever was, and it takes away the risk of re-injuring it.”

In the mean time, Holmgren confirmed that the Flyers will call up defenseman Erik Gustafsson on Tuesday to act as the team's extra defenseman.

Gustafsson is not expected to play on Tuesday, but would be available in case of injury on Thursday in Atlanta or Friday in Dallas.

Holmgren decided against re-calling Danny Syvret, who has 10 points in the Phantoms' last 7 games and has considerable more NHL experience.

None the less, it's a tough break for Pronger, who has appeared in 50 games for the Flyers this season, recording four goals and 21 assists for 25 points. He is a plus-7 on the season and leads the Flyers in average time on ice per game (22:09). If the CT scan would have revealed the break earlier, he would have likely been able to return for the end of the season.

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