It's one thing to have a specific injury, something that can be seen in tests and will run a predictable course.

The problem for Matt Carle is he doesn't have one. What Carle is suffering from, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren revealed Tuesday night, is an "intercostal" tear somewhere in his ribs. It's a muscle that goes between the ribs and can wrap from the front to the back.

Apparently, the pain Carle is experiencing is in the middle to lower back and it's just not getting better. In fact, Carle said he still doesn't feel any better after missing four games.

"The MRI came out negative, but there's definitely something there," Carle said. "That's what's so frustrating. I can't seem to get over it and . . . I don't know.

"We're just trying to keep it slow and do things that don't bother me. [Tuesday], nothing was really working, so I figured I'd give it a good go today and it's still pretty sore. I talked to a lot of people and it's the most frustrating thing I've ever had in my career."

There is little that Carle can do except wait it out and hope he wakes up and feels better in the morning. At some point, the Flyers might have to consider putting their newest defenseman on long-term injury.

"That's not my decision," he said. "I kind of hope for every game that I'll wake up one morning and feel good."

That day will not be today, when the Carolina Hurricanes visit the Wachovia Center for the last time during this regular season. The Flyers have faced Carolina three times in a span of 8 days and are 2-0-1.

Christmas shopping

Mike Knuble and his family spent part of yesterday afternoon shopping for Christmas items to be donated to the Camden Rescue Mission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving Camden and surrounding communities.

Knuble said the approximately $7,500 will come from donations made by the Flyers and Comcast-Spectacor.

"It was great, the guys all chipped in for this little project and the Comcast-Spectacor foundation chipped in," Knuble said. "We shot for a certain amount and some guys gave more and one guy was very generous and gave 10 times what we asked for.

"Originally, we thought of getting a lot of toys and stuff for kids but with the economy the way it is, people need hats, gloves, baby formula. Anybody who is a parent knows what that takes out of your family budget." *