Crosby recovering but not ready to play
Sidney Crosby will not be ready for training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins as he continues to recover from the effects of a concussion, it was announced on Wednesday.
Crosby, sidelined since January, met with reporters at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh just over a week ahead of the opening of the team's camp.
The 24-year-old team captain was flanked by team general manager Ray Shero, as well as concussion specialists Dr. Michael Collins and Dr. Ted Carrick.
Crosby said that while he understood the worst-case consequences of his injury, the thought of retirement hasn't seriously entered his mind.
"Maybe I could get by on 90 per cent, maybe I couldn't, but I'm not going to roll the dice with it," said Crosby.
The competitiveness and defiance that have helped drive him to greatness and a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal were evident when CBC reporter Paul Hunter asked if he thought about the possibility he would never play in the NHL again.
"Pretty slight one. I wouldn't bet on that," Crosby replied.
Collins said Crosby was diagnosed with concussion symptoms such as headaches and fogginess, fatigue, and light sensitivity. He said Crosby has recently show signs of significant improvement, and that the recovery time is not surprising given the type of brain injury he suffered.
Collins said it is a manageable injury, but that Crosby will be need to be "100 per cent recovered, no ifs, ands or buts about it," before being ready for contact. He said there was no way of knowing when that would be, though at another point he stated it was "not close."
Crosby said he would "likely" be back at some point this season.
Crosby was hit in the head in consecutive games in early January. The former Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP was on pace for the best offensive showing of his career in 2010-11, leading the NHL at the time of his injury with 32 goals and 34 assists.
The captain was hit by Washington's David Steckel and Victor Hedman of Tampa Bay in the games in question.
Collins said the second hit "certainly didn't help" but that with such a complex head injury it's impossible to state how much damage was done in each incident.
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.
Collins and Carrick have been monitoring the progress made by the Cole Harbour, N.S., native, who reached an exertion rate of nearly 90 per cent in training before headaches returned and prompted him to alter his workouts.
Crosby said it's been a frustrating process, and at its worst moments, basic activities like driving, listening to music and watching video were problematic.
Training camp begins on Sept. 17 for the Penguins, with their first regular-season game Oct. 6 in Vancouver on Hockey Night in Canada.