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Matt Walker suddenly is better, off LTIR and playing tonight

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It's been exactly one month since Matt Walker went down with the second of two hip injuries on the year. One month. 31 days to be precise. When that injury was announced on December 13, we were told that recovery would take about six weeks. That would be two weeks less than his recovery has apparently taken. Basic math, y'see.

He's in tonight in Boston, replacing Oskars Bartulis who actually hasn't been terrible in the last few games. The news of his return to the ice was genuinely shocking, as we didn't even know he had been taken off LTIR. We knew he had been skating, but that's about it. It seems sudden in every possible way, and it also seems unnecessary to rush him back like this when the defensive situation has been fine of late, even with the absence of Chris Pronger.

When Walker hurt his hip in training camp, he returned to game action (with the Phantoms) seven weeks after surgery instead of the originally prescribed 10 to 12 weeks. Shortly thereafter, he hurt the opposite hip. Coincidence? Who knows. But whatever. Walker is playing tonight for the first time as a Flyer. Let's see what we've got, $1.7 million man.

He'll be paired with Matt Carle tonight, while Sean O`Donnell and Andrej Meszaros have been reunited. Nikolay Zherdev is also in the lineup in place of Dan Carcillo.

In terms of the cap, Walker now counts against the cap again but there's not much implication there. He comes of LTIR and the LTIR exemption is now down to just Ian Laperriere's cap hit, $1.166 million per year. The Flyers are still on pace to finish the year under the salary cap.