Lindros comeback in jeopardy

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The Independent Online

Eric Lindros' comeback plans are in jeopardy.

Lindros sustained another concussion - his third since January - after a collision during a practice last Thursday. He was hoping to return to the Philadelphia Flyers for the Eastern Conference finals.

It appears Lindros might be out for the season, though his doctor, James Kelly of Chicago, did not confirm it in a report sent to the team on Friday.

Kelly diagnosed Lindros' with a Grade II concussion after a phone interview and submitted his report to Flyers management. Team chairman Ed Snider said the report had "no mention whatsoever of him being out for the season."

A Grade II concussion means Lindros would have to be symptom-free for at least two weeks before he can be cleared to skate. That would rule him out of the Eastern Conference finals should the Flyers advance.

"We haven't been told by anyone that he is out for the season," Flyers spokesman Zack Hill said after Philadelphia's 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I am very saddened for Eric and certainly disappointed from the point of view of our team because we obviously felt that Eric would be a big help to us if we were able to go further in the playoffs," Snider said, reacting to an earlier report in The Toronto Star that Lindros would be out for the season.

Lindros has been recovering from a Grade II concussion that had sidelined him since March 13. The latest concussion is his fifth in two years.

Carl Lindros, Eric's father and agent, called the injury "a significant setback." Brett Lindros, Eric's younger brother, retired from hockey in May of 1996 because of concussion-related health problems.

Snider said he was informed of the severity of the injury prior to Sunday's game.

"I'm surprised to hear it secondhand and I'm surprised that the organization was not informed first," Snider said.

General manager Bob Clarke would not comment on the matter.

Lindros had planned to visit Kelly in Chicago on Thursday before being injured in a collision with Francis Lessard of the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms during what was supposed to be a noncontact scrimmage. Lindros needed 20 stitches to close a cut on his lip.

He was bothered by headaches once again and returned to Toronto to resume therapy.

Lindros missed 27 games in the regular season with injuries ranging from a viral infection to back spasms to two concussions.

He sustained his second concussion on a hit from Boston's Hal Gill in a game on March 4. After criticizing the team's medical staff for failing to immediately diagnose the injury, Lindros was stripped of his captaincy.

Lindros is in the final year of a one-year, dlrs 8.5 million contract. He becomes an unrestricted free agent unless the Flyers tender him a qualifying offer.

Clarke has said the team will make the offer - which assures it will receive five first-round picks if Lindros signs elsewhere. But it is not known what the team will do now considering the latest injury.