Lindros waiting on brace

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Brace yourself for Eric Lindros being out of the Maple Leafs lineup until at least next week with torn wrist ligaments.

The Maple Leafs centre had every movement of his right hand monitored by trainers, teammates and the media yesterday, as he awaits a custom brace to arrive from California tomorrow morning. There wasn't a lot the Big E could do yesterday, as he one-handed his way through much of practice, looking like a polo player without his horse.

"The worst part is that I have 75% of motion, but with the shooting motion and everything in between, there's no strength at all," Lindros said.

The Big E came out for a pre-practice team fitness test and was struggling with the make-shift tape job on his hand. When the regular drills began, he couldn't grip his stick effectively and chose to deke with his left hand.

There seems little hope he'll improve in time to play against the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday. After that, the Leafs play three times in five nights leading up to Christmas.

A cast was made of Lindros' wrist and shipped to the U.S. on Monday morning. But coach Pat Quinn was not hopeful of seeing him ready for Ottawa as he was of utilizing yesterday's absentees Ed Belfour (groin), Nik Antropov (knee), Tie Domi (shoulder), Darcy Tucker (general soreness) and Mats Sundin (eye appointment).

"If the brace is (on) and there's no flexibility and he can't do the things he needs to do, he'll be out until it gets better," Quinn said. "We have good (medical) information, but if you don't have the knowledge that everything is going to be fine, then you're always apprehensive about the future."

What was thought to be an insignificant problem on Saturday against the Dallas Stars when Lindros was hooked in the act of shooting, was eventually diagnosed as a minor ligament tear. Up to then, Lindros had confounded critics of his durability by playing the first 30 games of the year with hardly a scratch and contributing 22 points.

But amazingly, after the team lost three consecutive home games with a near-healthy lineup, Toronto rebounded to beat the Anaheim Might Ducks 3-2, sans Lindros and Belfour.

"I don't think we played any better than in the three prior games," Quinn said.

At least the Leafs will be totally rested. Ottawa has a home game against the Stars tonight.


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