Despite a troublesome virus that still bothers him, Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger is on track to return in three to six weeks and it's possible he could still compete in the 2012 Winter Classic.
The defenseman, who had surgery Tuesday on his left knee, told reporters on Thursday that he is still battling a mysterious virus.
"It's been a bit of a mystery with what exactly is going on," he said. "I did some blood work, and we're trying to get to the bottom of what's going on."
General manager Paul Holmgren said the blood rests revealed "no worries" and the team said that if Pronger didn't have knee problems, he might have been able to play this Friday.
As for the knee injury, Pronger said it wouldn't have kept him from playing in the playoffs. But because it's still early in the season, he decided surgery -- which was less involved than the 2010 surgery that kept him our for 10 weeks -- was worth it.
"But it got to the point where I wouldn't have played very well," he said. "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 four weeks, let's say, then I'm able to get three weeks in before the all-star break and then put the hammer down after that, as we get into the playoff stretch."