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January 10, 2015

Mason leaves game with apparent knee injury; Zepp recalled

Flyers goalie to undergo more tests for what team calls 'lower-body injury'

Flyers NHL
UPDATE [Sunday, 1 p.m.]

The Flyers announced Sunday that they have recalled goalie Rob Zepp from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. That's not a good sign for fans hoping Mason wouldn't miss much time. 

Zepp has played in 21 games for the Phantoms this season, compiling an 11-5-4 record with a 2.57 GAA and a .921 save percentage. On Saturday night, the 33-year-old goalie who made his NHL debut earlier this season for the Flyers, made 29 saves in Lehigh Valley’s 4-2 win at St. John’s. 

Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com is reporting that "an MRI on his knee did not reveal any significant damage and Mason is expected to miss a week."

The Flyers will return to action Monday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

FROM EARLIER

Steve Mason, who has been the Flyers’ best goalie this season despite his sub-.500 record, can’t seem to stay healthy.

On Saturday against the Bruins, he didn’t even make it halfway through the opening period before leaving with yet another injury.

But unlike his other injuries, this has the potential to be a little more serious.

After making what appeared to be a routine save, Mason fell while trying to get back up, and was left on the ice clutching what appeared to be his right knee in pain. After trainer Jim McCrossin helped him to his feet, Mason was able to skate off the ice - and right into the locker room - under his own power. He would not return, giving way to backup Ray Emery.

Emery allowed three goals on 13 shots as the Flyers fell, 3-1.

Flyers General Manager Ron Hextall said it was a lower-body injury and that Mason would undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

Mason's recent inability stay healthy has to be a concern the team, who signed the 26-year-old to a three-year, $12.3 million extension last January.

Mason, who is 8-12-6 with a 2.48 GAA, had been hot of late, even if he wasn't 100 percent. In the Flyers' previous two games (both wins), Mason stopped 67 of the 70 shots he faced.

Within the last month, however, it seems like Mason has been constantly fighting to stay healthy.

He had to be helped off the ice during practice on Dec. 19 and was “diagnosed” an upper body injury, causing him to miss the first few games of an eight-game road trip.

Then, on Wednesday, he left practice with another upper-body injury and ultimately underwent an MRI.

Those results came back negative, so Mason was in net for the Flyers’ win over the Capitals on Thursday, his ninth start in a row. And even though the Flyers came out on top, things didn’t go smoothly for Mason,  who appeared to tweak whatever injury forced him out of practice on Wednesday.

Mason stayed in the game, saying afterwards that he "just tweaked something" and "it went away pretty quickly. For the rest of the game it felt good." He reiterated that after Friday's practice.

If that was his honest assessment, this may very well be a new injury. And for a Flyers team that needs to win - and win a lot - to get back in the playoff hunt, that could be a problem.

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