PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While addressing the media this afternoon on the progress of his recovery, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby told reporters it’s “likely” that he’ll return to play in the upcoming season; however, his doctors and Penguins general manager Ray Shero made it clear that he will not see game action until he’s 100 percent.
The news conference was held at the CONSOL Energy Center, and included updates on Crosby’s recovery by the doctors treating him.
UPMC Concussion Specialist Dr. Michael Collins assessed Crosby on Tuesday and said the data was the best that they’ve seen so far.
Collins said he’s “extremely encouraged” and “very pleased” by Crosby’s progress, but there’s still “no timeline” for his return to the game.
“The types of symptoms Sid had initially are exactly the type of symptoms that we see that end up taking the longest to recover from concussion,” said Dr. Michael Collins, the director of UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “The symptom of fogginess, although it’s very hard to describe and hard to articulate and very hard to pinpoint and really hard to experience, is the symptom that best predicts someone who is going to have a long time recovering. So, at that point… that first time I saw Sid I knew we were in for the long run with this injury.
“Quite frankly, I wasn’t, nor am I now, surprised that it’s taken this long for Sid to start improving, and yes, we are seeing significant improvements recently,” he added.
Watch the complete news conference here:
Dr. Collins said he does anticipate Crosby returning to hockey, but not before he has made a full recovery.
“I anticipate Sid returning to hockey and playing well in the future, but I can guarantee you that we’re not going to make any mistakes in this case,” he said. “Before Sid goes back to play, we’re going to make sure he’s 100 percent recovered – no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
It’s a point Shero reiterated later during the news conference.
“[Crosby] will not return to play until he’s 100 percent,” he said. “Here’s a player that, over my five years with him, has played at less than 80 percent with injuries, as many athletes do, but there is no 90 percent returning from a concussion.”
Dr. Ted Carrick, a professor of Clinical Neurology at The Carrick Institute in Cape Canaveral, Fla., talked about the importance of returning Crosby to a normal life outside of hockey, too.
“Our treatments of Sid was not only to allow him to return to hockey, but we’re very, very concerned with the state of anybody’s brain when they injure it, and our greatest direction is to insure that Sid has a very fruitful and positive life,” Dr. Carrick said. “That he can do anything he wishes to do in hockey and after hockey.”
And Crosby said he’s had a strong support system but the injury has taken a toll on him, though it’s “much better” now.
“I feel a lot better and there’s no doubt that that’s part of it. That’s part of the challenge, part of the battle, but I haven’t really talked to anyone in particular,” he said. “But I’ve been really lucky to have a good support system around me, my family and the team, the group of doctors, my agency, everybody has been unbelievable and it’s important when you’re going through anything in life whether it’s this or anything else to have that and I’ve been lucky enough to have that.”
The Penguins open training camp on Sept. 16.
Stay with KDKA for the latest details.