NASHVILLE -- The last time Flyers captain Chris Pronger spoke to reporters was Dec. 1 when he held a conference call.
At that time, he talked about the lingering effects of what he and the club called a virus.
In the weeks that followed, it was discovered Pronger had suffered a severe concussion and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.
The club announced on Dec. 15 he would miss the rest of the season.
On Saturday afternoon, Pronger, who has been in seclusion, released this statement:
It is very, very tough right now, he said. I don't feel well and it hurts so much not to be playing.
For nearly one month there has been absolute silence on both the Flyers part and Prongers.
Some of his closest friends say they have not heard from him.
Privately, players say Pronger has not had much contact with the club, although general manager Paul Holmgren says he talks to Pronger once or twice a week.
Recently, Holmgren said that Pronger was still having lingering concussion issues and there was little, if any hope, of it getting better this season.
Team officials are worried about Prongers fragile mental state of mind, in the sense that he may be suffering from depression caused by having to deal for the first time in his career with a head injury that is not getting better.
Pronger has always prided himself on his ability to recover from injury and train at the highest level. He can no longer do that.
The fact Pronger has gone into seclusion also worries the club and fellow teammates.
Pronger reportedly has been spending time in St. Louis. His wife, Lauren, is a St. Louis native.
The Flyers go into next months trade deadline on the assumption that Pronger wont be back for the playoffs something that they had originally hoped would happen.
Their biggest decision, sources say, is how to proceed at the deadline.
Do the Flyers go out and spend lavishly on a No. 1 D-man, such as Shea Weber or Ryan Suter -- if available -- without knowing Prongers status for next year, let alone this year?
Or do they trade for a rental player to get them through the season and hope that Pronger is available to play next season?
They wont have an answer on Pronger, said one source. They know that already. If they think he may not be back next year and have to throw caution to the wind, and spend, theyll do it.
The Flyers have not named an interim captain and dont plan to either.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at email@example.com