IN LIMBO: A federal judge delayed until Thursday a decision on whether the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service may put Detroit Red Wings star Bob Probert in jail while he appeals his deportation order.

U.S. District Judge Horace Gilmore in Detroit heard arguments yesterday from Probert's attorney, Marshal E. Hyman, and assistant U.S. Attorney L. Michael Wicks. Probert, who attended the hearing but did not speak to the court, filed suit Monday to fight the immigration service's plans to lock him up until his deportation appeal can be heard.

Hyman argued that holding Probert without bond was unconstitutional. The deportation order followed Probert's conviction on cocaine importation charges, but is based on his chronic abuse of alcohol, rather than the drug charge.

DUE BACK: Tim Kerr, whose wife, Kathy, died a week ago, worked out with Philadelphia Flyers conditioning coach Pat Croce before practice Monday.

Murray Craven, who leads the Flyers' scorers with 12 points, all on assists, probably will miss at least one of this week's games. His father is undergoing cardiac surgery soon in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and as soon as a definite date is scheduled, Craven will fly out to be with him.

STRESS FRACTURE: Defenseman Joe Cirella of the Quebec Nordiques, whose desire to be traded has made him a target of criticism by Quebec fans, will be out of action at least a week with a stress fracture of a knee, Coach Dave Chambers said.

Cirella was roasted for his play in Quebec's 3-2 home loss to the Vancouver Canucks Sunday, but Chambers said the injury was to blame.

Fans appeared to sour on Cirella after he recently said he wants out because his wife has had difficulty adjusting to life in French-speaking Quebec.