Video Pinpoints Source of Pronger Concussion?

Video Pinpoints Source of Pronger Concussion?

Daily News beat writer Frank Seravalli has a detailed piece on the Frequent Flyers blog at Philly.com breaking down Chris Pronger's recent injury history.

Though the concussion with which he has now been diagnosed was originally thought to have stemmed from his stick-blade-to-the-eye incident against Toronto in October, that now seems like only part of the story.

After all, the captain played in five games after returning from that initial injury, only to later come down with his mysterious "virus" that would later be found to be of the post-concussion variety. So exactly when and where did this concussion take place?

Seravalli's account of the suspected incident during the Flyers recent trip to Phoenix:

With 2:09 remaining in the third period, Pronger was crunched on the boards in his own end by the Coyotes’ Martin Hanzal. It was a routine, clean hit. But it may have a lasting impact on the Flyers’ season.

Pronger was hit from the side, but went into the glass face first. He bounced off the glass and immediately fell to his knees and was slow to get up again. Pronger eventually re-joined the play, made a pass, and exited the ice.

Video of the play in question:

Though this hasn't been confirmed by the team or Pronger as the specific hit that led to his current troubles, even the CSN guys were showing footage of the collision on last night's telecast.

Whatever the root cause of his headaches and dizziness, the team will have to wait not only for Pronger's head to clear, but also for his knee to heal after yet another surgery. While nothing has been announced, he is assumed out for next month's Winter Classic against the Rangers.

As for a worrying rundown of those players across currently missing time to due the league's rash of concussions and alike symptoms, James Mirtle of TSN and the Globe and Mail in Canada provides this list of just those who could be considered high-profile:

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@mirtle
James Mirtle List of high profile NHLers with concussions is getting long these days... Crosby, Pronger, Richards, Giroux, Skinner, Staal, Letang.
Dec 13 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

For Flyers fans who have already seen too many careers altered and even ended by concussions and related trauma, here's to hoping the NHL decides to do something more than just its attempt to ban blows to the head—a literally impossible task.

Flyers owner Ed Snider was quite candid earlier this week in detailing how he believes the issue has been exacerbated by the unnecessary and dangerous design of modern "protective" equipment, and what he sees has a declining sense of respect from players towards their opponents. St. Louis Blues' executive John Davidson chimed in that the increased speed of the game in the post-lockout era is also a significant factor.

Changing the hearts and minds of the players doesn't seem likely and changing the rules might return the league to the cluttered neutral zone that made for what the league and public have seen as less than exciting. So, why not start with the easiest, and probably most pressing, issue to solve?

Pads are meant to protect players from injury, not increase the potential for harm to others. An incident like Pronger's or even Giroux's might not be avoided, but you can imagine plenty others might be.

So, please, Gary Bettman, Brendan Shanahan and whoever else is in charge in Toronto, don't become like another North American sporting league trying to legislate that which is impossible to stop. Instead, lead the way. Take it upon yourselves to be proactive, and not so foolishly reactive. Your players and fans will thank you.

Joel Embiid unhappy with how Sixers handled injury updates

Joel Embiid unhappy with how Sixers handled injury updates

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Joel Embiid will miss the next four games and is slated to return March 3 against the Knicks in Philadelphia, so long as he is symptom-free. While Embiid wants to play as soon as possible, he’s just glad there is now a definitive timetable announced.

Prior to Thursday, the team had not announced a specific timeframe.

“I wasn’t too happy with the way it was kind of handled before,” Embiid said. “I saw the day-to-day part. I was told that I was going to miss at least two or three weeks. So I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled.

“I thought keeping my name out there was going to just like literally have people think about me all the time instead of just saying when I was going to be back. So I’m happy that they did that today and they said that I’m out for the next four games.”

Embiid suffered a left knee contusion on Jan. 22 against the Trail Blazers. He sat out three games and returned on Jan. 27 to play the Rockets. He has not played since then, sitting out the last eight games.

An MRI also revealed Embiid has a slight tear in his meniscus, which is not thought to be related to the contusion.

Embiid went through a full practice on Thursday for the first time, he estimated, in four or five weeks. (Wednesday’s practice was not intense.) According to the Sixers, they are encouraged by the progress Embiid showed but do not feel he is game-ready. Team doctors are holding him out the next four games to minimize the risk of aggravating his knee. In order for him to be cleared, Embiid has to be symptom-free.

Embiid had eyed a return on Friday against the Wizards because he was feeling well, he said, but he had some swelling on Thursday.

“No swelling, no pain, nothing,” Embiid said of his criteria to play.

Now the team -- and fans -- can move forward without daily questions of Embiid’s status.

“I think it’s good for everybody,” Brett Brown said. “For you all to understand, the people that buying a ticket to understand, for me as a coach to prepare my team that he’s not going to be here for four more games. I like that clarity. I’m fine with it. Obviously, you want him playing, but the mystery that surrounds that speculation I think is frustrating for people and we understand that.”

Embiid reiterated the patience aspect of the injury, noting he waited two years to rehab his foot and there is no need to rush his knee. Now everyone can be in the loop with his status.

“The end point is basically making sure I’m ready to play instead of just putting me out there,” Embiid said.

In Justin Anderson, Sixers get solid defensive wing who was buried in Dallas

In Justin Anderson, Sixers get solid defensive wing who was buried in Dallas

On the surface, the Nerlens Noel trade doesn't look good.

The Sixers on Thursday traded the third-year big man to the Dallas Mavericks for forward Justin Anderson, center Andrew Bogut and a top-18 protected first-round pick. That first-rounder turns into two second-round picks if it doesn't convey in 2017. Yuck. And double yuck.

The only hope in this trade comes in Anderson. The former first-round pick has the look of a prototypical NBA wing. At 6-foot-6 with a nearly 7-foot wingspan, he has the frame to disrupt passing lanes and the bulk at 228 pounds to muscle up stronger swingmen.

At Virginia, Anderson was a key cog for a team that was ranked as high as No. 2 and earned a 2-seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. After that season, Anderson opted to forego his senior year and enter the NBA draft. He was selected 21st overall by the Mavericks in 2015.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett preaches defense and Anderson was one of his finest disciples in that regard. Offensive limitations and being a part of a balanced attack with the Cavaliers caused Anderson's stock to drop. Despite shooting 45 percent from three in his final season, Anderson was considered a streaky shooter and, frankly, that's remained the NBA.

His rookie season was one to forget. The Mavericks were competitive in the Western Conference, finishing as the 6-seed and losing to the Thunder in the first round. Anderson couldn't find his way into Rick Carlisle's rotation. Dallas' never-ending supply of point guards coupled with the sharpshooting duo of Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons relegated Anderson to just 11.8 minutes a game his rookie season. In his limited time, he shot 41 percent from the field and 27 percent from three.

Unfortunately, it's been a similar story this season, but with some glimmers of hope. Anderson is still losing minutes to Matthews and also big free-agent acquisition Harrison Barnes, who's having a strong first season with the Mavs. But over a three-game stretch in late January, Anderson averaged 15.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He also shot 6 of 16 (38 percent) from three during that span.

“I don’t want to sell myself short,” Anderson said to the Star-Telegram during that run. “I still think that I can be a really great player in this league, but I think it’s going to take a lot of hard work.

“I think [the early-season struggles] may be the best thing that’s happened to me in my career. All we can do is wait and just keep working hard, push through it and hopefully one day it’ll all pay off."

The most promising numbers in Anderson's young career are that he's averaging 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes as a pro. At the very least, Anderson should develop into a solid defensive wing. If he develops offensively, who knows?

Per ESPN's Kevin Pelton, "Noel and Anderson (who just sneaks over the bar) are both among the 21 players in the league who have averaged 2.0 steals per 100 team plays and blocked 2.0 percent of opponent 2-point attempts or better in at least 500 minutes."

It's tough to argue that this trade was a good one for Bryan Colangelo. With that said, Anderson could still turn out to be a decent NBA player. He needs minutes and patience, two things the Sixers can offer in spades.