There was good news and bad news for the Flyers.

First, Mike Knuble had his right cheek and right orbital bones put back together and will not be out as long as expected.

But that news was followed by the report that Ben Eager has a high right-ankle sprain and will be out indefinitely.

Knuble was thought to be lost for up to 6 weeks after he was injured in a collision with Rangers forward Brendan Shanahan Saturday in New York.

Shanhan, meanwhile, was placed on injured reserve by the Rangers yesterday while he recovers from a concussion.

"[Knuble] had successful 1- hour surgery [yesterday] performed by Dr. Guy Lanzi at Cooper Hospital in Camden," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren in a statement released by the team. "He had two plates inserted in his face to fixate the broken bones. He will spend the night in the hospital and return home [today]. We are expecting him to return to action in approximately 4 weeks.

"He will be out of any type of activity for at least a week to 10 days and then he will start his conditioning. Everything went well and Mike is resting comfortably."

Getting Knuble back in the lineup will be good for a team trying hard to finish a bad season on some kind of positive note. The Flyers had been playing better hockey, and had won their first game without Peter Forsberg with the effort in New York.

But in the next game, Monday night against the Bruins at the Wachovia Center, Eager, who was becoming more and more valuable to a team trying to establish an identity as a physical, emotional foe, suffered the high ankle sprain. It is an injury that can keep players out of a lineup sometimes longer than a fracture. Holmgren said there is no time frame for his return.

The Flyers have both Stefan Ruzicka and Darren Reid up from the Phantoms. Reid played Tuesday night in the loss at Buffalo but there was no indication yesterday if either would play tonight against Carolina in RBC Arena.

The Stanley Cup-champion Hurricanes also will be without a key player. Left wing Eric Cole, who has 25 goals and 26 assists in 57 games, is out for at least 2 weeks with a hip injury. *