On New Year’s day, during the NHL’s Winter Classic, Crosby took a David Steckel shoulder to the head and suffered a concussion. Crosby has been feeling the effects of the concussion ever since. He played the Penguins’ next game on January 5, but that was the last time we saw him play hockey. Nearly 9 months later, with the start of the NHL season just over a month away, Crosby seems no closer to a return.
Crosby’s agent has said there is no timetable for a return, but that he is “expected to make a full recovery.” From USA Today:
“We always knew this was going to be a progressive recovery – based on how he felt,” said Pat Brisson, Crosby’s agent. “With a concussion, there is not a finite recovery period like with a shoulder injury or a knee injury. That’s why we’ve never even set a specific goal for a return date like the start of training camp or Oct. 1 or anything else. He will play when he is symptom free.”
That’s a nice idea, but if the cobwebs haven’t cleared after this amount of time, why should people be optimistic they ever will? Eight months after the injury, you have to worry that a full recovery may not be possible. Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star wonders if any return is worth it.
His trophy case is full. He has a championship ring and an Olympic gold medal. He’s been league MVP, leading scorer and the consensus best player in the game. He’s only 24 and his hall-of-fame bonafides are beyond questioning. His material needs are settled for a dozen lifetimes.
This is all true, even at just 24-years-old. The idea of losing Crosby is a pretty drastic one for the NHL. Even if Crosby does make that “full recovery” he’s now more susceptible than ever to concussions. If this one put him out for 8-months to a year, what could the next one do? As Kelly points out the next one could always be the last.
Whenever Crosby returns and for however long, the rest of his career will be an extended breath-holding exercise. Every fan will be waiting for the next time Crosby is laid out and wondering, “Is this the one?”