Stevens unsure when he will return

Updated: January 18, 2004, 2:26 AM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens confirmed Saturday he has post-concussion syndrome and will be sidelined indefinitely.

Stevens missed his fifth straight game Saturday when the Devils faced the Washington Capitals.

The Devils initially reported that Stevens had the flu, but published reports suggested the problem was more serious.

Honored before the game as the all-time leader among defensemen in games played, Stevens told reporters between the first and second periods that he visited Dr. Karen Johnston, a noted concussion expert in Montreal on Thursday.

"It seems like that is what I'm suffering from, post-concussion syndrome," Stevens said.

The 39-year-old Stevens hasn't played since Jan. 7.

"I had a bad stomach and I wasn't feeling right," Stevens said. "I may have had a touch of the flu, too.''

When he did not improve, Stevens decided to visit Johnston.

"I've seen the best people in this area," Stevens said. "I went on my own. The team knew I was going, so I wasn't trying to hide anything."

Stevens has no idea when the concussion occurred and did not set a timetable for his return.

"I'm just resting and not doing anything at all," Stevens said. "It's really difficult. I'm used to being active, especially this time of year. I need to step back and rest."

Before this stretch, the Devils captain hadn't missed a regular-season game due to injury or illness since the 1999-00 season, when he did have the flu.

Stevens, voted to start for the Eastern Conference in next month's All-Star game, missed a game earlier this season because of the death of a relative. The only two games the 22-year veteran missed in the three previous seasons were when he was a healthy scratch.

Stevens has three goals and nine assists in 38 games this season.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press