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NHL Star Kariya Could Miss Olympics

February 6, 1998

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Canadian hockey star Paul Kariya, unable to play for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks since sustaining a concussion Sunday night in a game against Chicago, could miss the Nagano Olympics.

``He doesn’t feel any better today _ not at all,″ Ducks coach Pierre Page told The Orange County Register on Thursday. ``When he drives his car and hits a bump, he gets a headache. That says it all. He’s not clear right now, that’s for sure. His thinking is not clear.″

The 23-year-old center sustained the concussion when he was cross-checked by Blackhawks defenseman Gary Suter. No penalty was assessed on the play, but the NHL later suspended Suter _ who will play for the United States in the Olympics _ for four games without pay and fined him $1,000.

Dr. Craig Millhouse told The Orange County Register that the Ducks are waiting for test results measuring Kariya’s spacial skills and motor functions. The results will be compared to those from similar tests Kariya underwent before sustaining the concussion _ the fourth of his career.

``If those come back normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything is OK,″ Millhouse said. ``He could still have symptoms. But, if it’s abnormal, it’s definitely clear he still has symptoms. ... He can’t have any symptoms before he can play. It’s that simple.″

Anaheim general manager Jack Ferreira told USA Today on Thursday that his ``gut feeling″ is that Kariya will be forced to skip the Olympics.

``He’s having trouble focusing and right now he couldn’t travel,″ Ferreira said. ``He’s still foggy.″

Kariya is scheduled to travel to Japan on Sunday.

Since ending a holdout over a contract dispute, Kariya has 17 goals and 14 assists in 22 games for the Mighty Ducks.

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