VOORHEES, N.J. - Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau, believed to be out for the season with post-concussion
symptoms, practiced with the team Monday, but downplayed speculation he might return for the playoffs.
Primeau, sidelined since Oct. 30, took part in a number of contact drills and did not wear anything designating
him as being injured.
In a news conference five weeks ago, the 34-year-old Primeau insisted that he would not return to the NHL
until September at the earliest. But he has been feeling better in recent weeks and decided to test his progress.
"I felt good," Primeau said. "My conditioning, my legs, feel about as good as they can for the amount of time
I've been off. It felt really good to be part of the practice, enjoy my teammates differently than I have for the last five
Primeau was injured in a game at Montreal on Oct. 25 when he was struck in the head by Canadiens rookie Alexander
Perezhogin. He played one more game before taking himself out of the lineup.
Afterward, he experienced problems with balance and vision. Some of those symptoms have subsided, he said.
"This is part of my rehab," Primeau said. "It's another hurdle and it's a huge hurdle for me. But by no means
does it change anything I've stated earlier. I just keep trying to take it one day at a time and progress. I wasn't any the
worse for wear from the little bit of contact I had, which is good."
Asked if there's enough time to get ready for the playoffs, Primeau said he wasn't sure.
"That's a long way off," he said. "It's a hypothetical. My head will have to feel a lot better. It still felt
about a foot behind. I'm not going back on the comments I made when this started and the comments I made in my press conference.
At this time, there's no way I can make that assumption."
Derian Hatcher, filling in as captain in Primeau's absence, said the whole team got a lift from the experience.
"Any time you have a guy coming back, they bring energy with them," Hatcher said. "It's good to see."
Mike Knuble said "it was an encouraging sign to see him out there. It adds a little more flavor to our season.
He demands a lot from players. He puts guys on edge a little bit and maybe that's what we need."
General manager Bob Clarke said the decision is Primeau's.
"Until the doctors tell us he can play, I'm not even going to worry about it," Clarke said. "We've been under
the assumption he's not going to play. I think it's been impressive what he's accomplished to get back this far. It's really
up to the doctors and Keith. The Flyers can use him, but it's his decision."