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Pronger not ready to retire, but a comeback unlikely

Mar 7, 2013, 12:59 PM EST

Chris Pronger press conference

Chris Pronger seemed in good spirits as he joked with reporters today in Philadelphia, but his words belied his playful mood.

Mixed in among the jabs at the assembled media, the 38-year-old Flyers defenseman spoke of the “dark days” that accompanied his ongoing recovery from a concussion that’s kept him from playing hockey since late 2011.

And while he’s not ready to officially retire — “I don’t know if this is the end or not…time will tell” — the list of issues he still faces suggests a comeback is extremely unlikely.

Peripheral vision is a problem for Pronger. He keeps having to get stronger glasses. He gets lightheaded and dizzy. He has headaches. He can be irritable at home, particularly around his kids. He’s been depressed. Sometimes his cognitive skills are “suspect.” He can lose his train of thought. He can’t run or do “anything where I’ve got to move my body fast.” According to his doctor, he has “significant vulnerabilities…that may or may not go away.”

Safe to way, if “pretty much anything where there’s a lot going on” still presents challenges for Pronger, suiting up again for the Flyers isn’t a very realistic goal, especially at his age.

For now, Pronger is just “trying to get healthy” so he can “live a normal life.”

And he’s “still got a lot of work ahead of me.”

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