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Flyers' Pronger still fighting mysterious virus

WESTMINSTER, Calif. - Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who underwent surgery on his left knee on Tuesday, said he is still battling a mysterious virus.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. - Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who underwent surgery on his left knee on Tuesday, said he is still battling a mysterious virus.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Pronger said he was not over the virus and added, "I don't know what's going on."

The Flyers had said that his virus symptoms were almost gone and that if he didn't have the knee problem, they were hopeful he would have been able to play Friday.

Pronger, 37, said he has been experiencing headaches and nausea like never before. He revealed he passed a concussion test.

"It's been a bit of a mystery with what exactly is going on," he said. "I did some blood work, and we're trying to get to the bottom of what's going on."

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has said the blood work showed "no worries."

Pronger's surgery was his fifth in 16 months. He said most of the injuries were fluky, caused by getting hit with pucks, and implied he wasn't breaking down because of his age.

He said he would start his knee rehab Friday.

The Flyers said Pronger would be sidelined for four weeks. Pronger said that was a "ballpark number" and that it could be three to six weeks.

The Flyers play in Anaheim, the franchise Pronger helped win its first Stanley Cup in 2007, on Friday night. If the Flyers were playing in the playoffs, Pronger said, he would not have had the surgery and would have played through the pain.

"But it got to the point where I wouldn't have played very well," he said. "We can always say we can play, but at what level and at what detriment are you playing? At this stage in the season, not knowing the other side of it, it was prudent to get it done now so that if I'm able to return in four weeks, let's say, then I'm able to get three weeks in before the all-star break and then put the hammer down after that, as we get into the playoff stretch."

Pronger has missed 10 games this season. He missed 32 regular-season games in 2010-11, which he called "the year from hell."

"It's a little disheartening," he said of his latest surgery. "It sets you back" after "you're just starting to get your rhythm. . . . I have to go through that whole process again whenever I do get back."

The 6-foot-6 captain said his knee has been bothering him since he went out with his eye injury on Oct. 24.

In July 2010, Pronger had surgery on the other knee, and in both operations "loose bodies" were removed. After the 2010 surgery, it took about nine weeks before he played in a game. He said that surgery was more involved than the latest one.

"There was a little bit more damage on the one a couple years ago," Pronger said. "There were pretty big chunks they took out, and it was not as clean as this knee was. The doctor was pretty pleased when he got in there to see what exactly was involved."

Pronger, who leads the Flyers in average time on ice (22 minutes, 28 seconds per game), wasn't sure how he injured the knee.

"I don't remember ever getting hit. I don't remember ever catching it in a rut or doing anything," he said, adding he has "a couple suspicions" on how he was injured, "but I don't really know."

Pronger not only anchors the defense, but he also keys the power play and penalty kill. The Flyers have won just 21 of the 42 regular-season games he has missed the last two years.

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