Chris Pronger was named the 18th captain of the Philadelphia Flyers in franchise history at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, which only made sense with the departure of their former captain, Mike Richards.
What the Flyers didn't expect, however, was their captain to miss significant playing time.
Pronger has been in and out of the lineup since the beginning of the season, and he's missed a bunch of games here and there ever since he signed with Philadelphia. Now, there is no question what he brings to the ice. He's one of the toughest guys in the game, and adding him to any lineup instantly makes the team competitive.
Chris came back from nursing an injury that was caused by a high stick to the face in a game against Toronto on October 24, only to find himself right back out of the lineup with what the Flyers called a "virus."
Nobody in Philadelphia thought much of it, thinking it was just a cold and that he would be back on the ice within a few games.
That status changed a few days later, when the Flyers announced that Chris Pronger would be out yet another four weeks, after going under the knife yet again to remove "loose bodies" in his left knee.
Like me, you were probably thinking to yourself, "the whole virus thing was probably just a smoke screen to hide the fact that he really had a nagging knee injury." Unfortunately, that is not the case. Not only is Chris rehabbing his knee, he is indeed battling a virus right now, which doctors are unable to currently explain at the moment.
When Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly asked Pronger about the "mystery virus" in a recent interview, this is what Chris had to say:
Do you think Pronger will be healthy for the Winter Classic?
If I'm a Flyers fan, I'm worried.
The good that we could take out of this is that it doesn't seem to be a concussion. The bad news is this could be something Chris could be battling all season long, which would be bad news for the Flyers.
With Chris out of the lineup long-term, the Flyers will find it hard to win some of their tougher games. Not only that, but it sure doesn't help the team when the guy who's supposed to be your captain is out of the lineup.
As it stands right now, Chris isn't expected back in the lineup until the end of the month, and if he suffers setbacks, may not even be able to return for the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia. While I'm sure Chris will participate in such a big event, it's hard to say for sure what will happen.
For all the Flyers faithful, let's hope these problems subside soon and Pronger is ready to bang bodies on January 2 at Citizens Bank Park.