For a little while, Chris Pronger was worried about whether his participation in the Olympics on Canada's blue line was in doubt.
But four days after an MRI revealed a crack in a bone in his right foot, the Edmonton Oilers defenceman said yesterday he is ready to help Canada defend its gold medal.
"If it was going to be an issue, I wouldn't be going," said Pronger, who will compete in the Olympics for the third time.
Pronger suffered the injury on Feb. 5 in a game against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He has been told by doctors his foot should not give him problems in Turin. Against St. Louis two days ago, Pronger had 29 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time.
Pronger's defence partner with Canada, Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche, also endured a recent health scare. But Blake, who tweaked a groin against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, also declared himself fit.
"I played (Sunday night) in Detroit and had no problems whatsoever," Blake said.
The losses of Pronger and Blake would have been close to disastrous for Canada, given the absences of Scott Niedermayer and Ed Jovanovski, who are injured. There might be good depth for Canada, but Bryan McCabe and Jay Bouwmeester, the replacements for Niedermayer and Jovanovski, are not equally as good.
At practice yesterday, coach Pat Quinn also had Wade Redden paired with Adam Foote, and Bouwmeester with Robyn Regehr. McCabe was with taxi-squad member Dan Boyle and will be the seventh defenceman, but Quinn said he plans on using all seven.
Each of the three three taxi-squad players -- Boyle and forwards Jason Spezza and Eric Staal -- know they could be called into action at a moment's notice.