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February 28, 2006 - Primeau Still Sidelined by Concussion

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Primeau Still Sidelined by Concussion

  Keith Primeau has not ruled out returning to action next season after announcing that he will be unable to play for the remainder of the 2006 season on Tuesday. (AP)

The Associated Press

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers captain Keith Primeau will miss the rest of the season because of lingering symptoms from a concussion four months ago.

Primeau, his voice cracking, said Tuesday this was the best decision for his health. He added that he would be sidelined for the playoffs but did not rule out returning next season, saying he had made progress in his recovery.

"I'm not 100 percent, I'm not symptom free," he said at the Flyers' practice facility. "I will not be able to finish the season. I made the decision in hopes of prolonging my career."

Team owner Ed Snider said he was sure Primeau would be back for training camp in good health.

"I hoped not to get to this point," said Primeau, with Snider and general manager Bob Clarke by his side.

Primeau was injured Oct. 25 after a hit from Montreal's Alexander Perezhogin, the latest and most severe in a list of head injuries the center has sustained in a 15-year career.

Primeau had not been cleared to play by Flyers doctors and a concussion specialist in Montreal had advised him to forgo playing this season and continue his rehab, leaving him with little choice but to try and return next season.

Primeau played in two more games after he was injured, but symptoms forced him out of the Oct. 30 game against Ottawa.

He had one goal and played in only nine games for the Flyers (33-16-5) this season, and was asked by Clarke to make a decision by the end of the Olympic break. The Flyers resume play Wednesday night at New Jersey.

Primeau missed 21 games because of a concussion sustained against the Rangers in the 2003-04 season. He also had at least two head injuries in the 2004 playoffs -- in the Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto and in the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.

After missing the first half of 1999-2000 season with Carolina because of a contract dispute, Primeau was traded to the Flyers and brought immediate toughness and leadership to the locker room.

Primeau matched his career high with 73 points in 2000-01, and led the Flyers in playoff goals (nine) and points (16) in 2004 when he helped lead them to the Eastern Conference finals.

Primeau was appointed captain in 2001, but that title has since been given to defenseman Derian Hatcher.

Drafted in the first round by Detroit in the 1990 draft, Primeau spent six seasons with the Red Wings and three more with Hartford/Carolina and played in two All-Star games. He has 266 goals and 619 points in 909 career games.