Leighton to Undergo Back Surgery
Earlier this week as the Flyers set their roster, the team wasn’t sure whether or not to place goalie Michael Leighton on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR). Little did they know, that his bulging disc would turn into a herniated disc and require surgery. The team announced that Leighton would have surgery Monday, and miss 6-8 weeks.
But, that wasn’t the only news of the day. Leighton admitted his back has been bothering him, but didn’t tell the club until it got worse over the summer. I’m assuming “over the summer” means after he had signed his new two year deal. Holmgren said yesterday that the Flyers didn’t know about the injury until after the deal was signed. If he had told the team before signing the deal, the team may have not resigned Leighton, or at the very least the team would have checked his back out to begin with. But, should have the team checked him out regardless?
This new development comes days after Ian Laperriere admitted he wasn’t honest with the Flyers’ medical staff with his concussion symptoms in order to play in the Stanley Cup Finals. Leighton says it bothered him during the summer and in training camp, but the preseason game in Toronto (where he was injured) made it flare up worse.
The silver lining is that had the Flyers signed someone like Marty Turco instead of Leighton, rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky would likely be in Adirondack instead of coming off a very good performance in the Flyers’ season opening win in Pittsburgh.
Back injuries are not one to mess with as they can linger throughout the year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Leighton missing more than 8 weeks, especially if the Bobrovsky-Brian Boucher tandem are playing well. As our friend Shawn pointed out, Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had similar surgery last January, and missed the rest of the regular season (about 3 months). Is it possible that Bobrovsky staying on the NHL roster had to do with the Flyers believing the Leighton injury was more serious than they first knew, or wasn’t healing (both of which we later found out are true).
It’s entirely possible that Leighton may lose his job if the current tandem are playing well. At the very least, we’ll have two months of seeing Bobrovsky develop with the Flyers.
More Ninjury Update
Chris Pronger missed Thursday’s game and will miss tonight’s with St. Louis after missing training camp following knee surgery. It’s still possible he returns for Monday’s home opener against the Avalanche. Tim Panaccio reports Pronger will “probably not” play Monday, but will be up to Pronger to return to the lineup when he feels healthy.