Pitkänen Underwent Second Procedure, to Return Shortly

By Bill Meltzer

Flyers general manager Bob Clarke informed columnists Rob Parent and Tim Panaccio yesterday that the injury suffered by top prospect Joni Pitkänen was a torn meniscus and he underwent arthroscopic surgery. He is expected to return for the Finnish playoffs.

Said Clarke to Parent, “His agent (Larry Kelly) said it’s a minor knee surgery. We asked him if he wanted (Pitkanen) to come over and get it checked out, but they said it was minor. They said it was nothing … it’s not serious.”

Neither Clarke nor Kelly was certain which knee was involved but reports from Finland state that it was the opposite knee than the one on which Pitkänen underwent a procedure for the same injury last summer.

Speaking to Finnish reporter Juha Luoma yesterday, Kärpät general manager Juha Junno said Pitkanen may be cleared to play after March 10 or 11, which will allow him to dress for game one of the playoffs. Luoma said that Pitkänen still has a slight limp from the injury but is getting better daily. The Finnish semi finals start on the 25th of March and, at latest, he could play by then. However, if there is a even slight possible that more serious injury could occur, Pitkänen will be shut down for the playoffs.