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12-06-2010, 04:20 PM
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Flyers goalie Michael Leighton will remain on long-term injury reserve, general manager Paul Homgren said Monday.

He made the announcement during a conference call, adding that he expects to carry three goalies for “the short term,” when Leighton is healthy enough to be activated.

At the time of the call, Holmgren also said the team was seeking approval from the NHL for a two-game conditioning extension for the 29-year-old goaltender, which was received later Monday.

“He still needs more work,” Holmgren said of Leighton, who had a two-game assignment with the Phantoms over the weekend in which he had a 3.55 goals against average and .875 save percentage in 118 minutes of play.
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Leighton is apparently still feeling the effects of his surgery from Oct. 11, in which he had a herniated disk repaired. The disk was affecting a nerve in his left foot, which continues to give him numbness and pain in net.

“It’s still the same issue I had a little while ago,” Leighton said. “It’s still not 100-percent. My back feels pretty good. But it’s not just the numbness, it’s strength. The doctor said the nerve needs to regenerate itself. They aren’t sure when that will happen.

“In certain movements, it doesn’t feel right. It does not feel as comfortable as the other foot. I think the best thing for me now is to play games.”

The Phantoms play Friday night in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday in Glens Falls, N.Y., against Portland and Sunday in Hartford, Conn., against the Connecticut Whale.

Leighton also received some much needed practice time with the Phantoms, where he could have an entire net to himself instead of sharing one with Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher.

Leighton’s possible return to the Phantoms delays the Flyers’ inevitable roster decisions at least another week. Even then, the Flyers could just choose to keep Leighton – if he is not fully healthy – on the long-term injured list for the balance of the season, though that seems unlikely.

“I’m not sure we’d have to do anything,” Holmgren said. “To add him to the roster, we would have to make some sort of roster move to take him off [LTIR] and add him to our team. But I’d be leary about adding him and not having some other sort of insurance policy with another [backup] goalie.”

That’s why Holmgren said if Leighton is healthy, he wouldn’t be opposed to “keeping three goaltenders for the foreseeable future.”

“I obviously want to play,” Leighton said. “But I don’t want to come back and not be 100 percent, that doesn’t help the team.”

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