Lindros in limbo

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

A determined Eric Lindros plans to play again at the Air Canada Centre, but in which uniform remains to be seen.

"I don't know," he said yesterday, showing off the cast on his wrist, where delicate ligament surgery was performed last month. "I don't think anyone around here knows what's going on, myself included."

That was a diplomatic comment on the state of the Maple Leafs, who could be in for a major facelift if they don't make the playoffs. For Lindros to fit in, not only must he recover in full as he assures he will, but the Leafs have to justify keeping an older, slower forward on the payroll, with his history of injuries.

There also is some bad blood lingering. When Lindros reinjured the wrist on Feb. 28 after 2 1/2 months on the shelf, there was the now-familiar dispute between his father Carl and management at the treatment of his wrist. Carl felt that a hard cast should have been put on earlier; general manager John Ferguson insisted everything was done in cooperation with Eric.

"I'm not even going to get into that," Eric said. "There are enough issues around here right now. I'm going to sit back right now.

Lindros hopes to have the latest wrapping off at the end of the month and then start rehab in May.

"There was more (to repair) there than they thought, but things went extremely well," he said of the operation.

He quickly cut off a question about when he would get back on the ice.

"I'm so frustrated with timelines right now that I'm not even going to bother figuring one out there," he said. "I've had enough bag skates this year.

"I was told by the doctor that there was going to be a full recovery. There will be some work to do after everything comes off, but it's going to get settled, with the strength, the mobility and the feeling that was there.

"We'll see where things stand (after he gets back on the ice this summer). I don't think anyone (in management) makes decisions until they have the best information, the most information and an idea about where things are headed.

"The autumn was great here, I really enjoyed being part of the team. But it was only 33 games. I'd like to be part of 82 and a lot more."

Coach Pat Quinn, for whom Lindros produced 22 points, couldn't agree more.

"You could see the enthusiasm in his play" Quinn said. "I'm sure he'd love to play just one year where he didn't have to worry about injury."


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