NHL

Crosby improving, but uncertain when he can play again

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Associated Press
1/18/2011 6:47:14 PM
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PITTSBURGH - Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is feeling better despite a concussion that has sidelined him for six games, but doesn't know when he can resume practising or playing.

Crosby's status for the NHL all-star game Jan. 30 in Raleigh, N.C., is uncertain, although he said Tuesday there is a "slight chance" he could be back for it.

"It's tough to put a timetable on it," he said.

Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer despite being out for nearly two weeks, is experiencing occasional headaches that are preventing him from returning. The Penguins have said Crosby will not take the ice again, even for practice, until he is symptom free.

"It's kind of hard to judge because it's not something I've gone through before," said Crosby, who was scheduled to sit out the Red Wings-Penguins game on Tuesday night. "I'm progressing. It's on and off. ... Some days you feel good, you feel like you've made progress. Some days are a bit tougher."

Crosby was injured after absorbing hits to the head in successive games from the Capitals' David Steckel on Jan. 1 against Washington in the Winter Classic and the Lightning's Victor Hedman on Jan. 5. Neither player was fined, even though the NHL is taking a tougher stance this season on hits to the head, particularly from the blind side. Hedman did receive a boarding penalty.

Crosby denied a printed report that he might skip the all-star game to protest the lack of punishment.

"That's not even close," Crosby said. "I'll be there if I can be there and I still haven't ruled out being there. Hopefully in the next few days, things get better. There's a slight chance I can still be back for that."

If Crosby doesn't return until after the all-star game, he would miss at least nine games. However, he would get an extra week of rest without sitting out any games because the Penguins don't play after their Jan. 25 game against the Islanders until they meet the Rangers on Feb. 1.

As for the hits not drawing scrutiny from the league, Crosby said that is "out of my hands."

"If anything, it's frustrating being out, but (the hits) are not what fuels the frustration," he said. "The frustrating part is not being able to play hockey every day."

The first concussion of the 23-year-old Crosby's career is giving him greater insight into the difficulty of mending from one. Not only is he not practising, he is not exercising or exerting himself off the ice. He did make an appearance to sign autographs Monday night at the team's annual charity bowling event.

"It's not fun (having a concussion)," he said. "You kind of gain a perspective on things and realize how serious and tough it is. ... It's not like a bruise or playing through something. It's a lot more serious than that. It's a little different."

Coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby has spent so much time watching the game and discussing power-play strategy since he's been out, he jokingly suggested Crosby put on a suit and stand behind the bench.

"I've remarked several times," Bylsma said, "about how he's alert, normal and thinking about the game and helping out the coaching staff."

Sidney Crosby (Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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