The Pittsburgh Penguins have no plans to rush star Sidney Crosby back to the ice.
General manager Ray Shero said on Monday that Crosby is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms and it’s too soon to know if he will be available when the Penguins open training camp next month.
“There’s no expectation from me that he won’t be ready or he will be ready,” Shero said.
Crosby hasn’t played in a game since Jan. 5, missing the rest of the regular season and Pittsburgh’s first-round NHL playoff loss to Tampa Bay as he slowly recovered from a concussion.
He said in April he would be back for training camp, but with about a month to go before the start, Shero would not guarantee that he would be there.
The 24-year-old Crosby has spent the summer in his native Canada working out on his own. He will undergo a thorough evaluation before he’s cleared to participate in regular drills.
“He won’t be pushed to come back,” Shero said.
Though Shero acknowledged Crosby has dealt with lingering symptoms “off and on” over the summer, they have not prevented him from continuing his workout program.
Coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t think the team will need to treat Crosby lightly whenever he returns. Bylsma also doesn’t anticipate holding Crosby out of the preseason if his superstar has been cleared by doctors.
“I don’t think when Sidney Crosby is healthy and ready to go, he’s not going to shy away from contact, nor is he going to shy away from competition,” Bylsma said.
“It would take quite a bit to keep him out of getting ready for the start of the regular season,” he added.
The former NHL Most Valuable Player was in the midst of a stellar season before the injury, amassing 66 points (32 goals, 34 assists) in 41 games.
He sustained hits in consecutive games in early January before being diagnosed with the concussion.
He considered returning during the playoffs before a series of setbacks kept him off the ice.
Shero senses Crosby’s frustration and doesn’t want to set an arbitrary deadline for his return.
“I want him to feel good about himself,” Shero said.
“He’ll be back at some point to play hockey,” Shero added.