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April 12, 2006 - Primeau still feels lightheaded when he's on the ice

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Primeau still feels lightheaded when he's on the ice
Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Keith Primeau knew the real test for him would come the day after his first full practice with the Flyers.

So on Tuesday, Primeau pulled himself out of bed, drove to the Skate Zone and put himself through a rigorous morning skate with about 15 Flyers teammates.

The results?

"When I'm on the ice I still have lightheadedness," Primeau said. "My vision, which had been corrected for the longest time, started to bother me the last few days."

Primeau thinks his symptoms might be the result of a decrease in medication that he has been taking since late December. Primeau lowered the dosage to see how he would feel while participating in high-energy workouts.

"During the day I feel real functional, real normal," he said. "On the ice I kind of feel disconnected from my head a little bit and that's where the danger lies."

Primeau, 34, has been sidelined with a concussion since Oct. 28 and has missed the past 69 games. On Tuesday he seemed resigned to the fact he would experience some symptoms during his comeback attempt but is hoping that with an increase in medication those symptoms will dissipate over time.

Still, the fear remains that the next hit he takes might be his last. Six years ago, Eric Lindros tried to return from a concussion during the 2000 Eastern Conference finals and was flattened by New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens. Many in the NHL believe Lindros has never been the same since that hit.

"I saw it happen and it's in the back of your mind a little bit," said Flyers left wing Simon Gagne. "I'm a lot closer to Preems than I was with Eric, so I don't want the same thing happen to him.

"In the regular season it might be easier coming back because they might take it a little more easy on you. But in the playoffs there are no excuses. If somebody has a chance to run him they will try because he's a key player and he could help our team do some great things."

The thought of being a target has run through Primeau's mind countless times over the past 5 1/2 months. He said playing in the 2004 playoffs with concussion symptoms was a mistake, even though he was the Flyers' best player.

He said his recent progress has eased some of those fears.