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What's actually going on with Shayne Gostisbehere's injury status?

The Phantoms head coach and Shayne Gostisbehere himself say one thing. Ron Hextall says another. What's the truth?

Pat Jacoby

On Thursday night, Lehigh Valley Phantoms head coach Terry Murray announced some surprising news: that defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a key piece in the Flyers' "big four" prospects on defense, would be shut down for the season after consulting with doctors on his ACL injury.

Ghost has been out since November after he tore his ACL, but before Murray spoke, the most recent news had been that Gostisbehere was on track with his recovery and even could have played for the Phantoms before the end of their season. That seemed to change on Thursday, though.

Both Murray and Gostisbehere himself said they were shutting down for the year.

But then Ron Hextall got wind of what those two said, and he totally reversed course.

A decision has not been made. I know it's been released up in Allentown there, but there's a process going on here and we're not through it yet. Shayne sees our doctor down here [in Philadelphia] in two weeks and something will come out of that.

Has there been talk of shutting him down for the year? Yes, there has. But the final decision hasn't been made.

Hextall also said that there hasn't been a "setback," so to speak.

No, there's not been a set back. I'd probably be making stuff up if I gave you details but I know it's an injury where new information every year comes out on it, and stuff recently, we're leery of putting him in at this point. But in two weeks, depending on how things go, how he looks with the doc, then we'll make a determination at that point. But he's not going to play in the near future I can tell you that.

Ghost has been skating for a while, and Hextall noted that the skating is important to build strength in the muscles in his leg and around the injured knee. But contact is still a scary thing that could cause a major setback, and that's what Hextall was getting at with that comment about being "leery" of letting Gostisbehere back into the lineup or even into contact practices with the Phantoms.

It's of course interesting though that the player himself says one thing while his general manager says another, though. Who is out of the loop here?

Lehigh Valley has 21 games left in their season, with the season finale coming Sunday, April 19 at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Phantoms are not currently in playoff position, and they sit nine points back of the eighth-place Providence Bruins in the Eastern playoff race. They do have two games in hand, but that's going to be a tough hill to climb.