Originally created 05/24/00

Lindros returns to lineup



VOORHEES, N.J. -- Eric Lindros returned from injury and exile Tuesday to a spot in the Philadelphia Flyers' lineup.

Lindros, sidelined by a series of concussions since March 13, skated in his first full team practice in more than two months -- one day after being cleared to do so by his doctor in Chicago.

Moments after leaving the ice, Lindros and coach Craig Ramsay announced the former captain will play tonight (7 p.m., ESPN) against the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, a series the Flyers lead 3-2.

"I just felt great getting out there and get skating again," Lindros said. "This is what it's all about, to play hockey and to enjoy it. It's a great time of the year and I look forward to playing."

Lindros sustained his fourth concussion in two years when he was checked by Boston's Hall Gill March 4. He played in the next four games, before pulling himself out of the lineup. Dr. James Kelly, a neurologist and concussion specialist who cleared the return, said Lindros had a Grade II concussion -- a more severe injury than the Flyers' staff diagnosed.

The star center, who was acquired in 1992, criticized the team and its management for poor treatment and became an outcast. Lindros was then stripped of his captaincy as the Flyers shot back.

While in rehab sessions, trying to recover from the initial injury, Lindros sustained his third concussion of the year at practice on May 4. He needed 20 stitches in his lip after colliding with Francis Lessard of the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms during a drill.

"Eric had to make the decision on whether or not he could play," said Ramsay, who added that only coaches and players were involved in having Lindros join the lineup. "The decision is based on what everyone has to say and everyone's on board here."

Lindros had his sights set on returning against the Devils. His plan didn't change after the collision that initially looked likely to ruin any chance of playing again this season.