Friday, January 13, 2012
Timeline: Sidney Crosby's concussion
Crosby was felled by a blindside hit to the head from then-Capitals center David Steckel just before the end of the second period. He got up gingerly and had a noticeable limp as he walked to the locker room. But he took the Penguins' first shift of the third period.
"He got my head, for sure," Crosby said after the game. "But I can't comment on it. I don't even know. Maybe it was so far behind the play the officials didn't see it."
Crosby was announced as the top vote-getter for the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 30.
That same day, the league announced Steckel would not be punished for his hit on Crosby.
During in an 8-1 home win over Tampa Bay, Crosby was injured again when he was driven into the boards headfirst by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Crosby finished that game and flew to Montreal with the team that night. When his condition did not improve, he returned to Pittsburgh on Jan. 6 for further tests.
After Crosby missed a game against the Montreal Canadiens, the Penguins announced that Crosby was expected to be sidelined for a week because of a concussion. He was leading the NHL with 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games.
The Penguins center said he would not resume practicing or playing until he was symptom-free and he hoped the NHL would take a closer look at how blindside hits are affecting the game.
"I know it's a fast game, and I think if anybody understands it's a fast game -- I've been hit a thousand times," Crosby said. "But when you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way you can protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully [the NHL] pays more attention to."
One week after taking his second blow to the head, Crosby was still feeling the effects of a concussion and was now considered out indefinitely. "I believe he's getting tested again this week, and he's getting better," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said on Jan. 12. "But we're not going to progress forward until the symptoms subside."
Bylsma said that Crosby was progressing, but wasn't ready to resume practicing or playing and would miss his fifth straight game.
Crosby said he had made progress and hadn't ruled out playing in the All-Star Game. He also denied reports that he was fuming about the league's lack of progress in protecting its players and possibly would withdraw from the Jan. 30 game in protest.
Still suffering from symptoms from the concussion, Crosby would not attend All-Star Weekend, Penguins general manager Ray Shero announced. Crosby had missed nine games at this point.
The Penguins announced on their website that Crosby had been approved to participate in light workouts. A source within the organization told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he was cleared for light, off-ice workouts only.
With Evgeni Malkin now out indefinitely with torn knee ligaments, the Penguins said they had no firm date for Crosby's return. Crosby left the team the week before to visit his parents outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. "The schedule with Sidney, we thought he would return sometime this week. There wasn't a definite date or definite day," Bylsma said.
As reports circulated that Crosby saw stars immediately when tried to work out, his agent, Pat Brisson, told ESPN.com that people were overanalyzing the situation: "He is resting right now until he is symptom-free to resume light exercise."
Crosby visited the Penguins during morning skate for the first time since leaving the team to visit his parents. "I hope I'm back and I hope I play this year," Crosby said. "That's the thing with [concussions]; you don't know."
After completing two trades to add three players to the injury-depleted Penguins lineup, Shero said "It's the unknown," whether Crosby would return this season. Crosby's agent told ESPN.com the next day that Crosby was not symptom-free. "We have to go a day at a time -- anyone in the media speculating that his season is over is jumping the gun. No one knows. That's the truth. All we know is that we have to be extremely cautious," Brisson said.
Bylsma said there had been some progress with Crosby, but it remained unclear exactly what that really meant. "He's been doing a lot better," Bylsma said. "We hope that means he will return to 100 percent health sometime this spring. [But] I can't give you any kind of date on it."
Now playing for the New Jersey Devils, Steckel said he remains remorseful and apologetic about his hit on Crosby. "It was completely unintentional," Steckel said. "I didn't mean to hit him at all. I tried to get out of the way. And it's unfortunate because I feel bad that he's been out for so long. It's one of those things that's obviously uncertain."
Troy Crosby refuted a report that the family was trying to convince Sidney Crosby to retire: "Not at all. We're just trying to get him healthy again. However long that takes, that's how long it's going to take."
Crosby skated for the first time but said he was still proceeding with caution: "I feel good. It's really early. It's just part of progress and trying to get better. I felt pretty good doing some light workouts. I was told I had the opportunity to skate. I went out there for 15 minutes to see how I felt. No real plan going forward. I felt good, so that's a good sign."
He had missed 29 games at this point.
Crosby took to the ice again on the morning before the Penguins faced the New York Rangers. He skated again on March 25 and March 29.
Crosby was cleared to participate in the team's morning skate on game days, but Shero made it known that nothing else should be read into that promising development. Crosby was not cleared for full practices, including contact drills, with his teammates yet.
"It's a natural return for his progression here. His rehab has been ongoing," Shero said. "He's doing well with it, but at the same time, as a manager, I have no expectations of him coming back and playing in the regular season. That's not going to happen."
Crosby took part in a no-contact game-day skate as Pittsburgh prepared for its night matchup against Tampa Bay. "It was just fun, a lot of fun to be back out there even though I'm not playing," Crosby said. "It's nice to be around the guys. I've spent a lot of time at home and guys have been on the road. It's nice to join them and get back out there."
Seen as a positive sign, Crosby skated with the team for a second straight day, but Bylsma was still cautious. "The progression that he's at is still a long ways away," Bylsma said. "The timetable hasn't been established at all and he still has several other aspects to go through in terms of what he needs to do."
As the Penguins geared up to face the Lightning in the first round of the postseason, it was reported they would not have Crosby available to them, as Crosby had not been cleared for contact yet.
Crosby sat with team management and goalie coach Gilles Meloche in the media area, wearing a headset to stay in contact with the coaching staff on the bench, as the Penguins won Game 1 against the Lightning.
The Lightning beat the Penguins 1-0 in Game 7 to eliminate Pittsburgh in the first round. The Penguins lost the series after taking a 3-1 lead.
Crosby acknowledged he recently had a setback and experienced symptoms during his recovery, but said he isn't worried that he won't be ready for the start of next season.
Crosby was cleared by team doctors to start offseason, off-ice workouts. "Everything will be closely managed by Dr. Collins," Shero said, "in terms of his progression leading up to him getting on the ice later in the summer per his usual routine."
More rumors created a stir when a report came out that Crosby's career was in jeopardy. "It is very disturbing and disappointing to me when someone from the media -- and especially an ex-player -- brings such baseless comments toward the medical status of player. Unless a report comes from the medical staff and/or an official voice for the player, it's of no merit whatsoever,'' Brisson said in a statement he sent to ESPN.com and other media outlets.
Crosby resumed on-ice workouts near his home outside Halifax with hopes he would be ready for training camp, Shero told ESPN.com.
Shero said the former MVP is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms and it's too soon to know if Crosby will be available when the Penguins open camp in September. "There's no expectation from me that he won't be ready or he will be ready," Shero said.
Brisson refuted a Canadian television report that said the former MVP had suffered a setback in his recovery from a pair of concussions.
Crosby saw multiple specialists as he attempts to shake lingering post-concussion symptoms.
Crosby said he won't return until he is 100 percent, but it's "likely" he'll return to play this season.
Crosby announced he was planning to skate in the team's first on-ice session of training camp.
The Penguins captain kept his word and was met with a hero's welcome as he joined his teammates to open training camp.
He participated in a controlled scrimmage, took faceoffs and worked on set plays in his first five-on-five action since camp opened.
Crosby still wasn't cleared for contact, but he was feeling well enough to consider joining his team on a trip to Western Canada.
Almost a week before the 2010-11 season would start, Crosby said he didn't expect to play in the Penguins' opener.
The Penguins placed Crosby on injured reserve, but a source said he could return any time because he was still on the list from the previous season.
Crosby skated with the team but still doesn't know when he will be able to play in a game.
The former MVP was cleared for contact by team doctors for the first time since being injured in January.
After practicing with the team for two months and having been cleared for contact for a month, Crosby's return was still uncertain, according to Bylsma.
Crosby announced he would make his season debut on Nov. 21 against the Islanders. It would be his first game in 10 months.
Crosby scored twice and added two assists in his season debut to lead the Penguins to a 5-0 win against the Islanders.
One day after his first game, Crosby said he was tired, but symptom-free. He added that he didn't expect to check in with his medical team each day to give them an update.
The team announced on its website that Crosby would sit out the next two games as a precaution after taking a big hit in a game against the Bruins. He had 12 points in the eight games he had played in the 2011-12 season.
Crosby said there was no indication that he suffered another concussion, but he would rather be safe than sorry on returning to games.
Two games became an indefinite absence as Crosby said he was dealing with a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms.
The Penguins put Crosby back on the injured list after he had missed his fifth game.
Bylsma told reporters Crosby was still experiencing symptoms nearly a month after his last game, and while he has not resumed skating, he is still doing light workouts.
Before a game in Washington, Bylsma said Crosby would skate with the team on its current road trip. The captain was seen in the pressbox during the Penguins sixth straigh loss that night.
After joining his team on the ice for the first time in more than a month, Crosby said "the symptoms are getting a lot better, but I wouldn't say [I'm] symptom-free."