BUFFALO, N.Y. - Kimmo Timonen's NHL career remains in limbo after tests revealed blood clots are gone from his lungs but remain in his right leg, according to Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall.
Timonen was ruled out for at least the first half of this season because of the blood clots that were discovered over the summer. There was hope new blood tests would provide some clarity on his future, but the veteran defenceman and the Flyers still don't know if he'll be able to ply again.
"It's good news that the lungs are clear, I think it's great news. The leg, we were hoping for better news," Hextall said Saturday during the Flyers' morning skate at First Niagara Center. "The initial information I have, that's still up in the air, whether he can play or not with what's happened with his leg."
Timonen has made no secret that he'd like to get back on the ice in what would be his final season. Any decision is pending a conference call with doctors Wednesday to plot a course of action.
At that point, Timonen, doctors and team officials could decide his career is over. Or the 39-year-old could begin skating at some point.
Hextall just won't put Timonen in danger.
"If there's risk, it's not going to happen," Hextall said. "Not with us.
"He's a good person and we wouldn't risk any player or any person to something like that."
Timonen is a veteran of 1,092 NHL games with the Nashville Predators and Flyers. He's a four-time Olympic medallist and has appeared in five games for Finland.
The Flyers are well out of the playoff race, in part because of a defence that's worse because of Timonen's absence. Winger Jakub Voracek, the NHL's leading scorer, called Timonen "the piece that we've been missing."
"He knows what it takes to find a way to win the games," Voracek said. "Obviously that's the leadership, it's everything at this moment.
"If he's going to play it's going to be great for us and great for him."
But teammates also don't want Timonen to lace up his skates and play again if it's going to endanger his career or life.
"The most important thing is somebody's health," forward Vincent Lecavalier said. "He's got 40 more years to live, or more, so that's the most important thing ... Obviously we want him back because he's a great player and off the ice everybody loves him, but it's somebody's life you're talking about, so that's the priority."
Hextall said Timonen's mood was one of guarded optimism. Tests did not change that.
"The information I have, you can't say he's going to play, you can't say he's not going to play," Hextall said. "It's still up in the air."
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