CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) _ Reeling from yet another injury and desperately clinging to their faint playoff hopes, the Philadelphia Flyers have signed the Philadelphia 76ers to tryout contracts for the rest of the season.
The Sixers' roster is expected to arrive at Flyers' practice today for skate and jersey fittings, but GM Paul Holmgren said he did not expect the basketball players to suit up in Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders.
"Saturday against Boston is a possibility," said Holmgren, who admitted he had yet to memorize the names of his 15 new players. "We hope to get them into the line-up as soon as we can, once we've found pants and socks that fit everybody."
The last time an NHL team acquired this many players at one time also involved the Flyers. Philadelphia sent 25 players, three tons of cream cheese and cash to the Quebec Nordiques in 1992 for the rights to center Eric Lindros.
The Flyers' injury list grew again Wednesday with the addition of defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. It's the second time this season that Meszaros has missed time because of his shoulder.
Also sidelined indefinitely is forward Danny Briere, who was diagnosed with a concussion. Briere previously lost games this year with a wrist injury. This season, the list of Flyers missing time has included forward Matt Read (torn rib muscles), defenseman Nicklas Grossman (lacerated jugular) and forward Scott Hartnell (ginger).
The Flyers, four games under .500 and plagued by inconsistent play and injuries all season, are simply looking for enough healthy bodies to fill out a line-up card. And all it took was a look down the hallway at the Wells Fargo Center to find some candidates.
The Sixers are currently 27-43 and sitting in last place in the NBA's Atlantic Division. With little to play for the rest of the season, the young, athletic hoopsters could provide the spark the Flyers need down the stretch.
Looking over the new prospects, Holmgren said he envisions center Spencer Hawes as a John LeClair-esque power forward and center Kwame Brown being the defensive presence and powerplay quarterback the Flyers have lacked since captain Chris Pronger went down with injuries a year ago.
"Kwame plays a slightly different game from Prongs, but you can see the similarities," Holmgren said. "They're both big, have a long wingspan and have played through a lot of injuries. We think Kwame, as well as Jrue Holiday, Royal Ivey and Thaddeus Young will be great additions to the Flyers."
Although the Flyers have no available space under the NHL's salary cap, owner Ed Snider is expected to send a strongly-worded e-mail to commissioner Gary Bettman this week that will increase the current cap to $137 million per team.
The Flyers are also expected to assign the Philadelphia Eagles to Adirondack of the AHL early next week.
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