Sources: Flyers tell Primeau season's over
By ED MORAN & ED BARKOWITZ
The end of Keith Primeau's season appears at hand.
The Flyers captain, who has missed 46 games with a concussion, was told by the team's medical staff that he
will not be cleared to return to the ice this season, team sources said yesterday.
The Flyers had wanted a decision on Primeau's status by Feb. 27, the end of the Olympic break, but that timetable
has been scrapped.
According to the sources, Primeau met with general manager Bob Clarke and the medical staff last week and
was told there was not enough time left this season for him to recover sufficiently to play at the pace at which he is progressing.
Primeau was told he would not be cleared to return to play this season but that he should continue to train
and recover in the hope that he would be able to play next season.
However, Primeau is apparently not prepared to accept the decision and, after speaking with his family, contacted
a Toronto chiropractor who believes he can help alleviate Primeau's symptoms. Primeau underwent treatment from the chiropractor
yesterday and expects to receive another round of treatments tomorrow.
Primeau could not be reached for comment last night but was made aware by the team's media staff that news
of the decision had gotten out and the media staff requested a response. Primeau's comments were posted on the team's Web
site late yesterday afternoon.
"In speaking with [Clarke], as everyone knows, a couple weeks ago I had to have a decision by the end of the
Olympic break," Primeau said on the team's Web site.
"I have since then been advised by the doctors that it may be in my best interests to forego playing this
year and continue my rehab in hopes of returning in September."
Primeau's season was interrupted when he was leveled by Montreal's Alexander Perezhogin on Oct. 25. He played
two games afterward, but hasn't been in the lineup since Oct. 28.
If Primeau shuts down for the season, it will mean that the 34-year-old center will have missed significant
time the last 2 years; last year because of the lockout, now because of the injury.
Primeau has sought opinions from other doctors. His symptoms include dizziness and headaches.
"[Clarke] and the organization are all aware of those conversations that I've had with the doctors, and I
told them that I would let them know as soon as I have made a decision and felt comfortable with that decision," Primeau said.
"As far as making it [yesterday], or [today] or [tomorrow] or at any point this week, it's just a difficult
decision and I haven't set a day where I am going to make any formal announcement. I know that making the decision, though,
is in the not-too-distant future."
On the Web site, Clarke said: "I think Keith stated it very clearly the position that he is in. Obviously,
when he is ready to make a decision about returning or not returning this year, he will and we respect that."
The absence of the gritty center is particularly glaring as the Flyers struggle through a series of injuries
and a dreadful midseason slump. They are 3-6-3 in their last 12 games.
Primeau's emotions are all over the map. "It's sad, because all I want to do is play,'' he said. "Unfortunately
at this time, my head will just not allow me to play. Obviously, I am running the emotional gamut from sadness to disappointment
to frustration to anxiety. But, I also know that my health is of the utmost importance."