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Sidney Crosby may play by Christmas: doctor

The best player in the NHL will not return to the ice until at least Christmas, but there’s still no timeline for his recovery, a doctor for Sidney Crosby said Wednesday.

Crosby, 24, hasn’t played since Jan. 5. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward said while retirement crossed his mind, it wasn’t an option.

“Mentally, I feel good, probably the best I’ve felt, honestly. It’s been a tough road [but] retirement? No,” Crosby said. He spoke at a news conference with other members of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

“I’ve always thought about the consequences of this injury and making sure I’m smart with it. … That being said, I didn’t really give a whole lot of thought to retirement,” he added.

Crosby said the symptoms affected his day-to-day life, and weren’t only apparent when he was playing hockey. He didn’t enjoy driving, had trouble watching television, and even had difficulty listening to the radio.

Crosby said there’s a “slight” chance that he won’t play in the NHL again, but “I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Doctors said they’d only allow Crosby to return to the ice when he’s 100 per cent himself, and Crosby concurred.

“Maybe I could get by on 90 per cent, maybe I couldn’t,” Crosby said. “I don’t want to roll the dice on that.”  

Before Crosby answered any questions, Penguins GM Ray Shero expressed his sympathies for the victims of the plane crash in Russia, and their families. The plane was carrying the Lokomotiv hockey team from Yaroslavl to Minsk. At least 43 people were killed.

Shero then turned the news conference over to Dr. Michael Collins, who has been treating Crosby for nine months.

“A concussion is a brain injury,” Collins said.

“I first saw Sid on January 6 and he was having symptoms consistent with a concussion. … He had headaches, he had fogginess, he had difficulty with fatigue. He had significant problems with his cognitive functioning at that time. I knew that we were in for a long recovery,” Collins said.

“We are seeing significant improvements recently. … I think this is a manageable injury.”

“In order for Sid to play, he needs to be at 100 per cent, with no symptoms. … There’s no timeline on this,” Collins said.

Another doctor, Ted Carrick, was recently brought in to treat Crosby. Carrick said Crosby likely wouldn’t return to the ice until the end of the year.

“It’s Christmas, I think, and it’s a very good start,” Carrick said.