Eric Lindros' ice hockey career as a Philadelphia Flyer could be over.
Lindros, a restricted free agent at the end of the North American National Hockey League season, will not play the remainder of the regular season and at least the first round of the playoffs because of a concussion.
By the time Lindros is healthy enough to play, he might elect to do so in a different uniform considering the hard feelings he has toward management. Lindros, speaking for the first time since it was revealed his injury is more serious than originally believed, questioned the competence of the team's medical staff and expressed frustration over the entire situation.
"I knew that things were not good, and I tried to convey that through my symptoms. But I was not going to pull myself out of the game," Lindros said Thursday. "I wanted the team to pull me out. I was hoping as the week went on that they would do that."
The 27-year-old center played four more games after being hit in the jaw by Boston's Hal Gill on March 4. Lindros missed a game at Phoenix on March 13 and was hospitalized two days later for tests. He was released a week ago, but was barred from practicing pending another examination.
Before examining Lindros, team doctor Jeff Hartzell said the player did not have a concussion, but was suffering from a migraine. Carl Lindros, the player's father and agent, said he believed his son was suffering from a migraine caused by stress.
Lindros was examined Tuesday by Dr. James Kelly, a neurologist at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago. Kelly determined Lindros had a Grade II concussion, which can cause memory loss and requires a longer recovery time. He said he would see Lindros again in 30 days.
"There are a lot of things that go on here that are good, and there's a lot that goes on that isn't good," Lindros said. "There's a lot of stress. Hockey shouldn't be like that. Hockey should be you just strap on the skates and go out and play. You get injured, you heal and get back out and play. All this other stuff is really frustrating. I haven't said anything in the past. I'm real unhappy with what's gone on here."
Neither Flyers chairman Ed Snider nor general manager Bob Clarke was available for comment before or after the Flyers' 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night.
However, the team issued an organizational statement early in the day, which read, "Based upon Eric Lindros' comments today, it is obvious that he and the Philadelphia Flyers have different perspectives concerning the medical judgments that are made following his most recent injury. However, this in no way impacts the high level of confidence we have in the integrity and skill of our training staff and medical team."
Lindros said he did not want to reveal the extent of the injury because he just returned from a back injury and did not want to miss more time. He also said he feared revealing the injury would jeopardize the chances of the team acquiring Ray Bourque, the longtime Boston defenseman who ultimately was traded to Colorado.
Last week, general manager Bob Clarke angrily denied reports that the team mishandled Lindros' injury.
"If Eric feels he has a headache, we didn't know he had a concussion. If he has a headache, what are we supposed to do about it?" Clarke said.
Kelly said the injury is not career-threatening. But this is Lindros' fourth concussion since March 1998. His younger brother, Brett Lindros, was forced to retire from the NHL in 1996 after suffering three concussions with the New York Islanders and an undetermined number of concussions in junior hockey.