Flyers G Niittymaki to try to play with cortisone shots

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki will receive cortisone shots in his injured left hip and try to make it through the season without needing surgery.

Niittymaki, who tore the labrum in his left hip during practice Tuesday, could have had surgery immediately, which would have
sidelined him for up to three months. Instead, Niittymaki and
Philadelphia trainer Jim McCrossin will fly to Nashville on Friday
to get the first of three injections, as recommended by hip
specialist Dr. Thomas Byrd.

McCrossin said the injections would be given Friday, in December
and before the playoffs.

"That would be ideal for us," McCrossin said Thursday. "We'll
keep our fingers crossed that the injection and the rehab he will
be doing is going to keep him healthy all through the season and
we'll do the surgery in the offseason."

Niittymaki tied a Flyers rookie record with 23 wins last season.
McCrossin said the shots and rigorous rehab should allow Niittymaki
to keep playing.

"With the injection, if it does take, that would be great," McCrossin said. "On the other side, if it doesn't take, then we'd have to obviously look at surgery."