Sidney Crosby has had quite the remarkable year. After a slow start at the beginning of last season he managed to become a Hart Trophy Finalist, Stanley Cup Champion, Conn Smythe Winner, World Cup Champion and MVP of the tournament. Crosby was back in prime form and then, even before playing a single pre-season game, he was diagnosed with a concussion.
After not feeling well on Saturday before the Penguins last preseason game against Columbus, Crosby underwent concussion testing on Monday and doctors confirmed what no one wanted to hear. This is the second brain injury that has plagued the star player. During the 2011-2012 season, Crosby sustained a concussion as well as a neck injury, which caused him to only play 69 games that year.
Since no two concussion sufferers are the same, the timeline for Crosby’s return is unclear, so much so that Coach Mike Sullivan refused to give one when asked on Monday. Sullivan simply stated, “Our medical staff will take the appropriate measures moving forward” .
Crosby himself addressed the media after having a morning skate before the rest of the team practiced on Tuesday. He seemed optimistic about his recovery and return but did not take too kindly to those suggesting the incident was a result of the World Cup of Hockey last month in Toronto and not from Friday’s practice as Sullivan announced on Monday.
When asked why no one knew how he was injured, Crosby replied, “It happened, I’m not making this up. If nobody saw it… I can’t help you.” Crosby also insisted that he knew exactly when it look place looking back on it. The media has been harsh on judging when the incident took place since he wasn’t hit hard during practice but the thing about concussions is that their cause isn’t always that obvious.
It doesn’t matter if everyone believes that the injury was a result of Friday’s practice or not, the fact of the matter is that he is out and no one knows for how long. The most important aspect of returning from a concussion is patience; symptoms can reappear if a player rushes their recovery.
Crosby will be monitored daily by the Penguins’ medical staff. He needs to be cleared of all symptoms before playing and doctors need to check on his progression. Things seem to be going in the right direction, but with concussions, they are never predictable and symptoms can return without warning.
On Wednesday, Crosby practiced with the team in a no-contact jersey but has been ruled out for the team’s home opener. The Penguins start their new season on Thursday against division rivalries the Washington Capitals. The team will also be kicking off its 50th Anniversary season and will be hanging their latest Stanley Cup Championship banner before the game.
Although the team will certainly notice the absence of their leader they have enough depth to help carry the load.Many times throughout the last season and even into the playoffs, many different players changed their roles and stepped up their game to help the team when in need and there is no reason to believe that this time would be any different.
No one knows for how long Crosby will be out for or if this latest concussion setback will have an effect on his game. Only time will tell when Crosby will return and how he will perform, but as the past has taught us, it is never wise to bet against Sidney Crosby.