Looking Inside Chris Pronger's Knee is a Pleasing Experience

Looking Inside Chris Pronger's Knee is a Pleasing Experience

Chris Pronger spoke with reporters this afternoon discussing his recent knee surgery in addition to all of the other ailments that have hit him over the past few seasons.

He indicates it's "this could happen to anybody" type of injuries but, over the past two seasons, we've seen him emerge from one injury with a completely different one. While taking a puck to the hand or a stick to the eye has nothing to do with age, the ability to recover and stay in game-shape while not doing everyday routines, could be related to it. Also alarming is that they don't seem to have any idea (or aren't saying) what the virus is exactly.

He's passed his concussion test, but he's not out of the woods on whatever is slowing his body down. That said, the doctor who looked inside his knee the other day was pleased with what he saw.

The full Pronger transcript:

Q: When did you have your surgery and how are you feeling? 

A: I had the surgery on Tuesday afternoon. I’m feeling okay just ice and elevation, trying to get the swelling out and I start my rehab tomorrow 

Q: Holmgren said the other day that you would be out for 4 weeks. Are you optimistic that it will be four weeks? Do you think you could be back sooner than that? 

A: I have no idea. Again, I had surgery two days ago, so  once I start getting my rehab going, as I progress through that I’ll know a bit more. Gauging off of when I had my other knee done a couple of years ago, a month sounds about right, but again, it may be 3 weeks, it may be 6 weeks, I don’t know. We just kind of gave a ballpark number because we don’t really know. 

Q: You mentioned the other surgery and that one took about 9 weeks. Homer said he thought that one was more involved…did the doctors tell you what was different about this surgery compared to the one you had two years ago?

 A: There was a little bit more damage on the one a couple years ago. 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 and was pretty please with what he saw. 

Q: Did you feel like you were almost ready to come back from the virus and then this whole thing with the knee came up? 

A: Well, my knee had kind of been bothering me. It’s gradually gotten worse since I came back from the eye injury. When I stopped skating, as I started to try to work out, it started to bother me. I’d do daily workouts and try to do legs every other day and it got to a point where I couldn’t do my leg workouts so I knew something was wrong. I went and got the MRI and got a plan to get it fixed very quickly as opposed to last time, Tim, when you got mad at me for doing it so late. 

Q: Was there anything that you did when you played that would have contributed to this injury? 

A: Not that I know of. I don’t remember ever getting hit; I don’t remember ever catching it in a rut or doing anything. I don’t know what it’s from…I have a couple suspicions, but I don’t really know.

Q: How frustrating is this for you? Last year you said was the season from hell and this year so far you’ve had three different issues. How tough it for you mentally now with this kind of start? 

A: Again, I was pretty pleased with how my summer went with training and obviously got in a preseason game and felt like I got a pretty good start to the season. When you have a fluke injury where you get slashed in the face with a stick and now the knee, it’s a little disheartening. But I felt like I was playing pretty well when I got hurt the first time. It just sets you back. You’re just starting to get your rhythm, you’re starting to get in your groove and you’re comfort level is very high and this kind of sets you back. I have to go through that whole process again whenever I do get back. 

Q: How scary was the virus? When we asked Paul he didn’t really know what it was. He said there were tests but it wasn’t anything overly-serious… 

A: I just didn’t feel well. I didn’t know what it was, we said it was a virus but I didn’t know what it was. I had never felt like that before, where I had headaches and nausea and all the rest of that stuff. So I had a concussion test. I took the baseline test and passed that… I’ve just never felt like this where you get lightheaded, you have headaches, you’re nauseous...It’s been a bit of a mystery with what exactly is going on. I did some blood-work and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on. 

Q: Is this one of those things, with your surgery, where you might’ve been able to play but you wanted to take care of it so that when it comes time for the games that really matter—the playoffs—you can be 100 percent?

A: I think if it was the playoffs or the Stanley Cup Final, I could play, but it was to the point where I wouldn’t have played very well. 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 4 weeks, let’s say, then I’m able to get 3 weeks in before the all star break and then put the hammer down after that, as we get into the playoff stretch. 

Q: When you go through something like this-- when you’ve had so many surgeries-- do u do any soul searching and say, my body’s breaking down here, how long do I want to go through this? Or do you say to yourself, hey, I did have a fluke injury with the eye but now I have both of my knees taken care of so they should be good to go for a few more years…? 

A: Well you have to look at the injuries in their totality. I got hit with a puck and I broke my foot. I got hit with a puck in the hand and I broke my hand. I got slashed in the face and hurt my eye. The knees are things that, you know, I hurt my knee in the game against Boston in the Stanley cup playoff and this one was from I don’t know what. The only one that was really perplexing was the back. I don’t really know how or what happened there and probably never will. It’s just one of those things. You look at the number of the injuries and they would seem to be kind of fluky. Three of them I got hit with the puck or a stick. Are those everyday hockey occurrences? Yeah, it could happen to anybody. When you play the game hard and you play a lot of minutes you’re that much more inclined to have something happen to you because you’re always out there. So you still have to take a look at it as, yeah, I’ve had a lot of surgeries and it takes a toll on your body but you’ve got to continue to follow rehab protocol and follow guidance of the doctors and try to make sure that you’re doing the best you can to take care of your body and take care of your mind at the same time to prepare yourself to be ready when you do get back. 

Q: Just to be clear, are you still dealing with the effects of the virus? Or whatever you said you wanted to call it? 

A: Yeah, I’m not quite…again, we’re still trying to ascertain what’s going on, and like I said, I’ve never felt like this before so...I don’t really know what’s going on.

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

Even with Jordan Matthews' return, Paul Turner still in Eagles' plans

There were just two things on Paul Turner’s mind as he sprinted across the field early during the third quarter on Sunday, anticipating his first career NFL catch. 

Turner relayed them on Wednesday: 

1. “Make sure you get in [Carson Wentz’s] vision.” 

2. “You better catch this ball.” 

He did both. 

Turner, the 23-year-old undrafted receiver from Louisiana Tech, who has become a fan favorite since his stellar training camp and preseason, caught his first NFL pass during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals and it went for a big gain of 41 yards. 

On his first catch, the Eagles used the play-action to tilt the defense and Wentz threw a dart into a small window to hit Turner on an over route. Then, the rookie turned upfield with a ton of space in front of him. 

By the end of the afternoon, he caught six balls for 80 yards. It was the best receiving day for an Eagles rookie since Jordan Matthews in 2014 and was a better day than last year’s first-round pick, Nelson Agholor, has ever had. 

“It's always good to catch a few balls,” said Turner, who has been on the 53-man roster and active for just the past two games. “It gets your motor going and gets your confidence going. It just gets you more into the game and gets you excited. I think it does a lot for a person's confidence.”

Turner played 41 snaps against the Bengals in large part because Matthews was out with an ankle injury. Matthews predominantly plays in the slot, which is where head coach Doug Pederson and his coaching staff like Turner. 

“Honestly, that wasn't really my mindset going into the game,” Turner said when asked if he knew how much opportunity he’d have with Matthews out. “My mindset was to go in there and if my number was called, just go out there and make a play. Even if my number was called, just take care of my assignment and take care of the little details and I knew everything else would just take care of itself. I knew that if I got the ball, I'd be excited. But even if I didn't, just to go out there and just block, and give up myself for my teammates. That was my goal coming into the game and just try to stay focused on that.” 

It appears as though Turner has done enough to warrant keeping his playing time. As Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday — as a limited participant — Pederson said there will still be opportunities for Turner. 

“There are, there are,” Pederson said. “And these are things we talked about the last couple of days as a staff — getting Paul in there, even with Jordan coming back. I think it can be a benefit to the offense to have both of those guys ready to go.”

The Eagles still haven’t had more than four receivers active for any game this season. During the last two weeks when Turner has played, either Agholor or Matthews were out. 

“It means a lot that the coaching staff has confidence in me,” Turner said. “My biggest thing is just to come in here and just work each and every day in practice and just prepare in practice so I'm prepared when I go out there in the game.” 

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

MLB Notes: Aroldis Chapman rejoins Yankees on 5-year, $86 million deal

OXON HILL, Md. -- Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen -- a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever -- that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

Rangers: Gomez reaches deal to stay with team
OXON HILL, Md. -- Carlos Gomez is staying with the Texas Rangers.

The outfielder agreed to an $11.5 million, one-year contract, a deal subject to a successful physical.

"Many of the objectives of the Rangers for Carlos go beyond one year," his agent, Scott Boras, said Wednesday. "Certainly Carlos really enjoyed the team and the environment and feels he's got a great chance to win. So I think both parties' objectives were met by that deal."

Gomez, who turned 31 last weekend, figures to play center as general manager Jon Daniels structured an outfield that includes Shin-Soo Choo in right and Nomar Mazara in left. Ian Desmond left Wednesday for a $70 million, five-year deal with Colorado.

Gomez batted just .210 with five homers in 85 games this year for Houston and was released by the Astros in August. He signed with Texas and hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games. An All-Star in 2013 and '14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average and 116 home runs in 10 big league seasons.

"J.D. was very clear from the onset about them wanting Carlos back, and we've had communication since the season's end to pursue that," Boras said. "So it was something in our minds and in their minds. It was just a constant dialogue."

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

Red Sox: Sale not worried about being ace
BOSTON -- New Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale says he isn't worried that he might not be the ace of the pitching staff after being traded from the White Sox to Boston.

The 27-year-old lefty told reporters on Wednesday, "We play for a trophy, not a tag."

Sale was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday at the baseball winter meetings. He was the top starting pitcher on the market, and the Red Sox gave up touted prospect Yoan Moncada as part of a package to land him.

Sale has been an All-Star for five straight seasons and finished in the top six of the Cy Young Award voting each time. He joins a staff that already includes 2016 Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and '12 winner David Price (see full story).