Flyers’ Pronger has blurred vision, return unknown after taking stick to the eye

PHILADELPHIA – Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger has blurred vision in his right eye and does not know when he’ll return to the ice after being jabbed in the face.

Pronger spoke Saturday night for the first time since Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski hit him just outside his right eye with a stick blade. Pronger says he feels lucky the injury was not worse because serious eye injuries have ended careers in the NHL.

Pronger buried his face in his hands after taking a brutal blow to the outside of the right eye, hunched over and skated straight to the locker room. Teammates described hearing his agonizing screams on the ice.

“Usually when you’re head goes numb, it’s a sign something’s wrong,” Pronger said. “I couldn’t see, so I didn’t know what was going on.”

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Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said after Pronger was injured the team captain would miss two to three weeks.

Pronger says his vision is still a “little blurry” because of eyedrops and other medications needed to relieve swelling and pressure. Pronger has been on bed rest, but “gingerly” rode a stationary bike for 15 minutes on Saturday.

He had a few stitches near his right eye, but otherwise looked fine.

Pronger, an 18-year veteran, does not wear a visor. The protective piece is not required in the NHL, though the Flyers said Pronger would not be cleared to play unless he wears one. Pronger declined to say if he would wear one whenever he comes back.

“You don’t know want to know my stance,” he said. “That’s for another day.”