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October 30, 2005 - Concussion sidelines Flyers' Primeau indefinitely

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Concussion sidelines Flyers' Primeau indefinitely

Sunday, October 30, 2005

By CHUCK GORMLEY
Courier-Post Staff


Flyers captain Keith Primeau will be sidelined indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms, the club announced on Sunday.
Knocked to the ice with an elbow on Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens, Primeau played two more games, against the Florida Panthers on Friday and against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

But when headaches and pressure persisted, the club sent him back to Philadelphia, where he is expected to undergo cognitive testing today. Primeau was diagnosed with his fourth documented concussion in February of 2004 and said he suffered through concussion-like symptoms for the next 16 months.

``Where he stands is pretty obvious,'' Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said Sunday from Ottawa. ``The effects of the hit (against Montreal) came back.

``With Keith's history in the last 24 months we're not prepared to take any chances. We'll take him back to Philadelphia to have him further evaluated and give everybody an update on where he is. I don't think it's too bad, but he's in a situation where we're just not prepared to take any risks.''

Primeau was replaced in the lineup by rookie R.J. Umberger, who had three goals and seven assists in eight games with the AHL Phantoms.

Primeau, 33, said he felt good the day after getting elbowed by Canadiens rookie Alexander Perezhogin. But when tension and headaches persisted in the next few days he hoped massage treatments would relieve the tension.

``I thought maybe it was just dragging a lit bit,'' Primeau said. ``But I was deteriorating and not getting better.''

Primeau has had four documented concussions during his 15-year career, but two weeks ago he said his actual number of concussions could be 25 times that.

``How many have I had?'' he asked himself. ``If you look since I've been playing when I was five, a hundred? In all honesty, I love when I hear J.R. (Jeremy Roenick) has had 11 documented (concussions.) Documented? C'mon.

``In talking with other guys in the last 15 or 18 months, it's not just one hit (that results in a concussion). Look back at the tapes of the last 80 to 100 games and every time that player gets hit or gives a hit, he's rattling his brain. It's a constant pounding.''

Considering the fact Primeau experienced symptoms for 16 months after his last concussion, it could be months before he returns to the ice.

In the meantime, the Flyers will get a look at their future with rookies Jeff Carter and Umberger taking over the roles as third- and fourth-line centers.

``He was practically one of our best forwards in training camp and the exhibition season,'' Hitchcock said of Umberger, a solid 6-foot-2, 200-pounder from Pittsburgh.

Umberger, 23, posted a goal and six assists in six preseason games with the Flyers. In 80 regular season games for the Phantoms last season, Umberger netted 21 goals, 44 assists and 36 penalty minutes. He added 10 points in 21 playoff games as the Phantoms won the Calder Cup.
Reach Chuck Gormley at