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April 26, 2006 - Primeau suffers another setback

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Primeau suffers another setback

By ED MORAN
morane@phillynews.com

Just a day after talking about the possibility of making it back onto the ice and trying to help the Flyers get past the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, it appears Keith Primeau's attempt at a comeback is over again.

Primeau, who was cleared for contact in practice last Thursday, had a return of concussion symptoms after an in-close contact drill Monday morning and has suffered a setback that will keep him sidelined.

Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin said yesterday that Primeau developed a headache Monday afternoon and that would prevent him from being cleared to play.

Primeau was injured Oct. 25 against Montreal and last played Oct. 28.

"He's been trying to play since he's been skating," McCrossin said.

"[Monday] he skated and he banged a little bit and had some symptoms and he had a little bit of a headache. Does that put him back a little bit? It puts him back a little bit."

Prior to the playoffs, when Primeau began his comeback attempt, McCrossin said he would have to be symptom-free for a week to 10 days before the medical staff would clear him to play.

"We did say that and we're not going to waver from it," McCrossin said. "He does have to be symptom-free and this is a bit of a setback, absolutely."

Asked if he would clear Primeau if he requested it, McCrossin said no.

"I can't,'' he said. "If a player has symptoms, it's just like a player coming off an ACL reconstruction. If the knee is not ready to go and everything doesn't check out, you can't put the player back. No matter what the player wants to do, you can't put the player back because you can't put him in harm's way.

"This thing about playing through an injury, how do you play through a head injury; you can't do it. I wouldn't subject Keith to it and I wouldn't subject the team to it."

If given the chance to make the decision himself, Primeau would keep on trying and said so last night.

"I've just got to keep on plowing through,'' he said. "I never told anybody that I was going to come back. I'm working to get back and if it was now, that would be great, but it isn't right now."

Still feeling the headaches last night, Primeau said he hasn't spoken to anyone from the team and didn't know if he would continue to skate practices with the Flyers or return to working out on his own.

He has said all along that he did not want his comeback attempt to become a distraction during the playoffs and believes that is what it is becoming.

He said he would "live with whatever decision the team makes."

In an interview after practice Monday, Primeau said he was pushing himself in an attempt to make it back for these playoffs, but said that he had "hurdles to clear.

"I'm close," he said. "I feel I'm close."

And that was what prompted him to push even harder Monday morning, 5 days after being cleared to resume contact in practice.

"It was a drill where I had the guys come out of the corner and try to get the puck through the crease and through me,'' he said. "I wanted them to work it hard and they did, and then one of the times I felt some contact that was different and I felt it, and I knew it was different, and I had a headache."

Primeau was examined yesterday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania by Jeffrey P. Staab, one of the doctors overseeing his rehabilitation.

"He said this doesn't mean to back off from my rehabilitation,'' Primeau said. "It means wait until another day and try it again. It's a setback. It means I can't have contact the way I wanted to.

"What I can't get people to understand is that I'm just trying to get better, and what happened was I was feeling better and there were two paths I could take. I could continue to rest or I could continue to work to get back.

"I didn't want to live with the regret of feeling really, really good and having the playoffs without giving myself an opportunity to play.

"But I've got to tell you, I was just telling Lisa [his wife] tonight that I'm feeling depressed for the first time in a while because I feel like I didn't accomplish what I wanted to accomplish."