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April 15, 2006 - Primeau acknowledges return this year is longshot

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Primeau acknowledges return this year is longshot

By ED MORAN
morane@phillynews.com

Keith Primeau dressed in his Flyers home uniform and walked out onto the bench in the Wachovia Center.

He was the first dressed and ready for the annual team picture, and he was taking advantage of the quiet moment to reflect on what being there meant to him.

He hadn't sat on that bench since Oct. 15 against the New York Islanders. Primeau scored his only goal of the season that night. Yesterday morning, Primeau sat by himself and tried to imagine what it would be like to be there again.

"I went out early just to sit on the bench," he said. "It was a nice feeling. I just wish there was 20,000 people there, but I'll take what I can get right now."

But that might be all there is. Primeau started practicing with the Flyers again on Monday. He never said he was doing it because he wants to play in the playoffs.

He said it was just another phase in his recovery from the persistent concussion symptoms that have sidelined him since the effect of an elbow to the head from Montreal's Alexander Perezhogin on Oct. 25 became more than he could handle.

No one who knows him, however, doubted that he was trying; looking for some hope that it might be possible.

Without trying, Primeau would have never known, and he is not the kind of guy who can live with not trying.

It was a longshot, and yesterday he acknowledged that it was becoming a much greater longshot. The symptoms returned Wednesday morning, they subsided when he skated, but they were there again - the pressure, the inability to focus - and that is more than he is willing to play with.

Asked whether he could play with symptoms of any kind, he replied: "No. I can't. It's too dangerous.

"When I took on the challenge, I promised my family I wouldn't play unless I was 100 percent. I don't think I'm capable of playing unless I'm 100 percent. I would be just too aware of it. If I'm aware of it, then it's not a good sign.

"It's not bad, I feel well enough to again participate in practice, but no real consistency in the way I'm feeling, so it's just continue to plug along.

"My afternoons end up being pretty good. It's in the morning and that first part of practice until I get comfortable and work my way through it.

"Today is not a good day."