Crosby thanks fans but sheds no light on return date

The Pittsburgh Penguins can't say when Sidney Crosby will be back in action with the team, but the superstar thanked fans for their support in a statement released on the team's website.

The Pittsburgh Penguins can't say when Sidney Crosby will be back in action with the team, but the superstar thanked fans for their support in a statement released on the team's website.

"I appreciate all the support I’ve received from my family, friends, teammates and fans and from the entire Penguins organization," Crosby said. "I know they only want the best for my health, and for me to be fully ready when I return to game action."

The Penguins said that Crosby has seen specialists on post-concussion syndrome in Georgia and Michigan.

After several days of equivocating on reports that the Cole Harbour, N.S., native had suffered a setback in his recovery, the club and agent Pat Brisson admitted that Crosby began experiencing headaches after some training sessions this summer.

The Penguins captain didn't need to discontinue his workouts, the club stressed, but had to "alter" them.

Crosby was hit by Washington forward Dave Steckel and Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman in consecutive games in early January. Steckel collided with Crosby while the Penguins star was turned, and Hedman drove him into the glass with a check.

Crosby had been on pace for the best offensive showing of his career, leading the NHL at the time with 32 goals and 34 assists.

He was back on skates in the public eye in March, but was never cleared for contact in practice or game action, including Pittsburgh's seven-game defeat in the first round of the playoffs to Tampa Bay.

The 24-year-old has expressed frustration with the recovery process, but said he would stay out as long as medically necessary.

Brisson and the club echoed that sentiment Wednesday.

"There has been a lot of speculation swirling over the past several weeks. We wish we could provide more specific details about Sidney’s recovery, but a concussion is a different kind of injury," Brisson said. "It’s not something you can check with an X-ray. And you can’t predict a precise recovery period. It’s all about the way he feels.

"He has been feeling a lot better but we want to give him all the time he needs to make a full recovery. He’s only 24, and he’s got a lot of great years ahead of him."

The Penguins said the specialists are confident that Crosby will eventually make a full recovery.

Crosby's injury has been at the forefront in the NHL as the league grapples with the issue of head shots in the game. Players such as Peter Mueller, Matthew Lombardi, and David Perron all suffered concussions before Crosby and will either definitively miss the start of the regular season in October or are questionable to be back at that point.