The latest steps in Sidney Crosby’s recovery from a concussion have been visits to leading specialists around the country to monitor his progress.
Their conclusion is that he will make a full recovery – it just takes time.
Crosby is expected to be back in Pittsburgh in the next few weeks, where he will continue to work toward a return to the ice, although no specific timetable has been set.
"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."
"We always knew this was going to be a progressive recovery – based on how he felt," said Pat Brisson, Crosby’s agent. "With a concussion, there is not a finite recovery period like with a shoulder injury or a knee injury. That’s why we’ve never even set a specific goal for a return date like the start of training camp or Oct. 1 or anything else. He will play when he is symptom free."
Crosby, who suffered a concussion in January and missed the rest of the 2010-11 season, made significant progress over the summer and took part in his normal, rigorous off-season workout program – including skating, shooting, stickhandling and off-ice work.
When he got to 90 percent exertion in his workouts, however, he started having some headaches again. At that point, his doctors and trainers altered his workouts accordingly.
He recently has visited specialists in Michigan and Georgia.
"We’ve had him see leading specialists because we want to make sure he gets the best care possible," Brisson said. "The Penguins always encourage their players to get second and third medical opinions and have been very supportive of this. And we’ve been talking to Ray Shero every step of the way."
The Penguins open training camp on Sept. 16 and play their first regular-season game on Oct. 6, but Brisson said Crosby’s return won’t be dictated by dates or games. He will play whenever he is ready – whatever that date may be.
"We would appreciate patience and understanding at this time," Brisson said. "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. 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."
What to takeaway:
--It's a good sign Crosby's been able to progress. He's pushed himself into good shape and has been able to get on the ice.
--It's a bad sign he's still experiencing headaches when he tries to exert himself up to full strength.
--The head can be a fickle thing to take care of. Guys like Matthew Lombardi and David Perron have also gone through significant periods of concussion symptoms lately. Often times, like a cloud or fog concussion symptoms can linger for weeks and months on end and lift suddenly, with almost impossible ways to predict what'll happen next.
--There is no timetable. If the season and training camp started today, Crosby's a spectator. His recovery is still not over.
All in all, it's nice to get some concrete news and some quotes from the team, the player, the agent and some information about what has been going on as far as doctor visits. Obviously all parties are executing due dillegence and it's "wait and see". Push, but don't push too far.
What we don't know still outweighs what we do know, but at least there's an update and some positive news. It's still a scary time for Sidney Crosby and hockey fans, but at least we know that the doctor's who've seen him say this will pass. From the comments, it's clear that Crosby is not going to hang up his skates and slide away. It's still a matter of time. And even though the season starts in about seven weeks, at age 24, Sidney Crosby still has all the time in the world to shake his symptoms and hopefully be able to finish his recovery and rejoin his teammates where he belongs- back on the ice helping the Penguins.