The pain and weakness in Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger's right hand prevents him from cranking his trademark slap shot.

But does the future Hall of Famer need to shoot in order to play in tonight's crucial Game 5 between the Flyers and Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center?

"Can Chris Pronger play in a game in a limited role and be a factor in the game?" Flyers coach Peter Laviolette rhetorically asked a gathering of reporters at the Skate Zone Thursday. "Yes."

But will he?

"Next question," Laviolette said.

Pronger, who has been sidelined since March 8 with a broken right hand that was surgically repaired on March 14 and re-injured about 10 days later, has said he would not address his playing status until after he returns to the lineup.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has been labeling Pronger as "day-to-day" since the first-round series began last week and maintained his cloak of secrecy Thursday, saying Pronger, right wing Jeff Carter (right knee sprain), left wing Andreas Nodl (eye injury) and defenseman Nick Boynton (flu) all are day-to-day.

Pronger practiced with a few veterans Thursday and took some light wrist shots, but he has not shot the puck hard since re-injuring his hand on March 24. If he plays tonight Pronger will replace rookie defenseman Danny Syvret, who is a team-worst minus-3.