Flyers goalie Niittymaki hopes cortisone shots will help him play now

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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 off-season."

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."

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