Jagr's return for Game 5 becomes uncertain again
Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 12:45 PM
Jagr, who said he was sure to play in Game 5 of Pittsburgh's series with New Jersey after missing the last three games with a groin injury, now seems less sure to play after skating Thursday.
Jagr left practice after about 15 minutes and went to the locker room where he rode a stationary bike. The media waited an hour to talk with him, but he walked by without comment.
Lindros and Roenick remain out.
On Wednesday, Jagr had said: "I don't think it matters whether I play five minutes or 15 minutes. If I'm going to play, it's going to hurt. [But] I feel I should be there."
Now, though, the decision probably won't be made until either after the game-day skate on Friday morning at the Continental Airlines Arena or the pre-game skate roughly 45 minutes before game time.
Jagr, who won the NHL scoring championship for the third time this season, has missed three straight games with a strained groin sustained in the first game against New Jersey.
The Penguins were 2-1 in games without Jagr, winning two straight before losing 4-2 at Pittsburgh Tuesday night in a game that tied the best-of-7 Eastern Conference series at 2-2. Game 5 will be at East Rutherford, N.J.
In other games Friday, it will be Philadelphia at Toronto, St. Louis at Phoenix, Boston at Carolina and San Jose at Colorado. The Philadelphia-Toronto and Boston-Carolina series are each tied 2-2, while Phoenix leads St. Louis 3-1 and Colorado leads San Jose 2-1.
No playoff games were scheduled Thursday.
Jagr has been skating at the Penguins' training camp in Canonsburg, Pa., but has mostly rested the injury and has received acupuncture.
"If you picked a guy that you wouldn't want injured during the series, one of the guys would be Jaromir," Penguins coach Kevin Constantine said. "So, when you lose him, you've lost a lot. And when you get him back, you get back a lot."
The Flyers feel the same way about Lindros, but his recovery has been slow from complications of a collapsed lung during an April 1 game.
Lindros is out for the series with the Maple Leafs at the very least, but has said he wants to play if the Flyers advance to the second round. Doctors have not yet made a ruling on Lindros' availability, but he has been skating lightly at practice recently.
Roenick has been doing the same at the Phoenix practice facility at Scottsdale, Ariz. His jaw was fractured in a late-season hit by Stars defenseman Derian Hatcher, who was suspended by the league for seven games - five in the playoffs.
Like Lindros, Roenick was not expected back this season. But he hinted Wednesday that he might return should the Coyotes advance.
"I just have a lot of confidence in my teammates that they're going to finish off St. Louis," he said. "It could be a couple of weeks yet. We'll have to wait and see."
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