On Oct. 24, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger took a Mikhail Grabovski stick to the face during a follow-through on a shot and missed two weeks. When he returned, Pronger played just five more games before being sidelined with a virus that coincided with minor knee surgery and concussion-like symptoms.
Those concussion-like symptoms did not dissipate and Thursday night the Flyers announced that the 37-year-old Pronger will miss the rest of the season, including playoffs, with severe post-concussion syndrome.
"After consultation with respected concussion specialists Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Micky Collins, it is the opinion of both doctors that Chris is suffering from severe post concussion syndrome. It is the recommendation of Doctors Maroon and Collins that Chris not return to play for the Philadelphia Flyers for the remainder of the 2011-12 season or playoffs. Chris will continue to receive treatment and therapy with the hope that he can get better."
Dr. Micky Collins, you'll remember, is one of the doctors who has treated Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby through his own concussion problems.
Earlier Thursday, Frank Seravelli of the Philadelphia Daily News tried to figure out the genesis of this concussion for Pronger:
On Oct. 24, Pronger temporarily lost vision in his right eye and was immediately put on medication to help relieve the pressure build-up behind his eye. Pronger missed the next 6 games before returning to the lineup on Nov. 9. Clearly, with the eye connected so closely to the brain, any vision problems and general head trauma can cause concussions. [...]
Pronger played 5 games - on Nov. 9, Nov. 13, Nov. 14, Nov. 17 and Nov. 19 - before missing time with what the Flyers originally called a virus.
Holmgren told the Daily News on Tuesday that Pronger initially reported not feeling himself on Nov. 18 but believed the pain was related to the eye. With nothing serious believed to be the case, he played the next day in Winnipeg. It was after the Winnipeg game that his condition worsened.
What changed between Nov. 17 and Nov. 18?
Seravelli brought up a clean hit on Nov. 17 by Martin Hanzal of the Phoenix Coyotes on Pronger that may have helped along his issues.
With Pronger gone for the season and leading scorer Claude Giroux dealing with his own concussion, this is a major blow to a Flyers team that is a sure-fire Stanley Cup contender at 100 percent.
For his doctors to rule him out of action until at least next season now, as opposed to keeping him out and monitoring his progress day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, the question of Pronger's future now must come up given the attachment of "severe" to his diagnosis.
Through 2017, Pronger is a $4,921,429 cap hit for the Flyers. If he retires due to injury, there is no exception because his deal is a "plus-35," meaning it will not come off their salary cap.
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