McCabe grounded

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

Before quietly exiting out the back door of Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday, Bryan McCabe delivered a sombre two-word statement on his status for tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"Very doubtful," said the Maple Leafs' leading scorer.

The disappointment was evident in his voice.

A member of the Olympic taxi squad, McCabe saw an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, the executive director of Team Canada, scuttled because of a nagging groin injury.

But the threat of aggravating the ailment is too risky. Having sat out practice yesterday, he'll rest the injury and likely won't return to the lineup until Tuesday in Colorado against the Avalanche, at the earliest.

Darcy Tucker and Eric Lindros were the other two players to miss the afternoon workout.

Still nursing a painful rib injury, Tucker will be a game-day decision.

As for Lindros, he was in an upbeat mood after a medical exam late Thursday confirmed he likely will not need surgery.

"I get the cast off in two weeks and then it should be a couple of days after that," Lindros, who suffered tendon damage in his right wrist last month, said of his possible return.

"These are the brightest days I've had in a long time."

Lindros skated on his own before practice.

Nik Antropov, meanwhile, is expected to return to action for the first time in a month.

Antropov, who practised with former linemates Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jason Allison yesterday, has been out for a month with a knee injury.

"We were starting to really click before Nik got hurt," Allison said.

Mariusz Czerkawski (flu-like symptoms) and Jeff O'Neill (neck/shoulder) also proclaimed themselves ready to go.


Photos