Sean O'Donnell was surprised when he read that he would be out for 10 to 14 days.
Turns out, it was an educated guess from Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren and the training staff. On Monday, with six healthy defensemen including Oskars Bartulis, the Flyers decided to play it conservatively with O'Donnell's recovery time.
O'Donnell, 39, has been around the block once or twice. He doesn't need that long.
And it just happened to work out, since Bartulis, who was injured on Tuesday night, won't be able to play tonight. The Flyers need O'Donnell - and he says he is ready now.
"We were just guessing [on Monday]," O'Donnell said. "We weren't aware if there was knee damage or not and what it is. We got good news with the MRI. This was better than we hoped it was.
"It was just a matter of pushing it. We had targeted Thursday. Unfortunately, with Oskars' timing, it works out for us."
Bartulis, who was hurt on a hit by former Flyer Scottie Upshall in the second period Tuesday against the Coyotes, could be done for the season. Yesterday, Upshall was suspended by the NHL for two games for the hit.
"Watched the highlights of our game," Upshall said on Twitter (@ScottieUpshall). "My hit on Bartulis was without a doubt late. But I had absolutely no intention of injuring him."
Bartulis likely will require surgery. The Flyers said yesterday Bartulis is out with "left shoulder instability" and requires more testing before they can make a determination. Bartulis played just 13 games this season. He is owed $148,387 for the remainder of this season, the prorated share of his $600,000.
The Flyers could clear cap space by moving Bartulis to the long-term injured reserve, which also would open up room for Holmgren to bring in another defenseman for the playoff run - or a scoring winger to replace Nik Zherdev, who was waived by the Flyers yesterday.
In the meantime, Holmgren said the Flyers would not recall a player from Adirondack to act as the healthy defenseman.
"We have some young guys that we like playing with the Phantoms, like Danny Syvret and Erik Gustafsson," Holmgren said. "Why would you call up somebody if they're not playing just to sit here? We're not going to go through with that right now."
Leino's hip ailing
After sitting out for a game and a practice over the last week, Ville Leino's lower-body condition was starting to raise red flags. A team source told the Daily News that Leino is struggling with an injury to his surgically repaired hip; he was sustained on Feb. 15 in Tampa Bay.
Leino, 27, had the hip repaired in a detailed offseason surgery but had no ill effects this season. He spent most of last summer on crutches.
The source said Leino on Monday had an injection of synvisc, a fluid that acts as a lubrication to the hip joint, which caused him to miss practice. Leino scored his 14th goal of the season on Tuesday against Phoenix in one of his best games over the last month.
Defenseman Matt Walker returned to Philadelphia yesterday from Adirondack, but not to be recalled for action. Walker will have his third surgery of the season today, this time a knee operation. Paul Holmgren said he will be out about 1 month . . . WFMZ-TV reported yesterday that ground will be broken on a minor league arena in downtown Allentown to host the Phantoms in time for the 2013-14 AHL season.