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KING-DUCK REPORT

Allison Not Sure When He Can Play

March 05, 2003|Jerry Crowe and Lonnie White | Times Staff Writers

The Kings could be waiting a long time for Jason Allison to return.

The club's top center, sidelined since Jan. 25 because of a neck strain, is suffering post-concussion symptoms and said Tuesday that he was not sure when he might be able to play again this season, if at all.

"It could be a week, or it could be the season," he said.

His hip injury, still listed as the reason for his absence from the lineup, has healed. His damaged right knee, which has sidelined him twice this season, feels good, he said, and gave him no problems when he skated last week.

His neck, however, is stiff and still hurts, and he is suffering from headaches. He has stopped skating and is being put through a battery of tests.

"There have been lots of different doctors I've seen, lots of different opinions," Allison said. "We've got to sort it out and see what's wrong."

It could be his neck, or it could be his head. Or it could be both.

"He just hasn't felt real sharp," Coach Andy Murray said.

The Kings have used the same words to describe Ken Belanger, sidelined since Nov. 5 because of a concussion, and Adam Deadmarsh, sidelined since Dec. 15 after suffering a second concussion in little more than a month. Steve Heinze and rookie Michael Cammalleri also are sidelined because of concussions.

"It's really frustrating," Allison said of the injuries that have limited him to 26 games, "especially when your team's battling for a playoff spot."

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King goaltender Felix Potvin, sidelined since Feb. 28 because of a knee injury, skated in full pads for the first time Monday but is at least two weeks away from being able to play, Murray said.

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With skillful players such as Paul Kariya, Adam Oates, Petr Sykora and rookie Stanislav Chistov, the Mighty Ducks have made their fair share of spectacular goals this season.

But with a month left in the regular season, the Ducks are having difficulty completing the same type of plays against teams fighting to make the playoffs.

"We are not playing our best hockey at a time when we need to be playing our best," Duck Coach Mike Babcock said before Tuesday's game against the Kings. "Obviously, that's a concern.... Now, it's all about playing."

Defenseman Niclas Havelid said the Ducks have been hindered by their lack of offense. They had scored four goals in four games before playing Tuesday.

"It's a combination of things," Havelid said. "We're playing teams that are tightening up against us defensively. They are not giving us much room. But we have to score goals. There's always more pressure when you don't score for a while."

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DUCKS TONIGHT

vs. Montreal, 7:30; Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.

Radio -- KPLS (830).

Records -- Ducks 31-24-8-4, Canadiens 24-27-8-7.

Record vs. Canadiens -- 0-0-1-0.

Update -- This is the opener on a six-game trip for the Canadiens, who are 10th in the Eastern Conference. Montreal is led by Saku Koivu, who has a team-high 59 points. The Ducks and Canadiens played to a 2-2 tie at Montreal in October.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

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