|Sidney Crosby will miss his ninth straight game Tuesday night. (QMI Agency/Darryl Dyck)
The All-Star Weekend is officially out for Sidney Crosby.
More importantly for the Pittsburgh Penguins captain, his team and the league, there still isn't any time frame for his return from a concussion that will cause him to miss his ninth game Tuesday night.
Crosby told reporters Monday no date has been set for the resumption of any kind of physical activity, never mind a return to the ice.
"The good thing is the last four or five days have been pretty good," said Crosby. "But that's not to say that tomorrow I couldn't get more symptoms. It's one of those things that's really hard to gauge. I've been really happy with the way I've progressed the last four or five days and hopefully it keeps going that way and (a return) will be sooner than later. But it's still pretty hard to tell."
Naturally, the Penguins aren't going to take any chances with Crosby's health. So the all-star game and surrounding activities are out.
"Sidney is making progress in his recovery but still is not completely symptom-free," said Penguins general manager Ray Shero, who has seen his team go 4-4 in the absence of the NHL's best player. "The Penguins organization has decided that he will not attend the NHL All-Star Weekend and instead will continue to relax and recuperate in the hopes of returning to our lineup soon."
Crosby, who has been out since Jan. 6 after taking hits in the head from Washington Capitals forward David Steckel and Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman in consecutive games, said he is still experiencing headaches.
It is generally accepted that a player must be symptom free for seven days before he can resume physical activity.
"They were pretty clear in communicating to me when I saw doctors that there was no real time line," said Crosby. "People say 'mild concussion,' but I don't know if there really is such a thing. It's a serious thing and, obviously, it's frustrating being out. It's kind of out of my control. All I can do is do the things on my part to give me a chance to come back and play. It just takes time."
Crosby said he has seen some progress. Things like watching television or driving would initiate an onset of his symptoms -- headaches, first and foremost -- but he has seen an improvement lately.
For a guy who is as committed to working out as Crosby, the forced layoff has been difficult to handle.
"It's brutal. You sit around and you can't really do anything ... especially early on. Even watching TV, stuff like that, I could barely do that. I've been able to do that a little more. The biggest thing is the stuff you take for granted, even driving would kind of set me off ... just being able to drive is a good step."
Crosby said he has been in touch with the NHL's Brendan Shanahan, who is overseeing the all-star game, to give Shanahan updates on his condition and get advice. Shanahan was concussed as a player, as well.
"Some guys take a week or two, other guys longer and some guys really long. There's no real time line and everybody has different symptoms. Some guys can't sleep. They have different symptoms. It's kind of hard to get a gauge," said Crosby. "From the guys who have talked about it in the past, they always say to make sure to take your time and not to rush something like this. I think that's pretty good advice in this case."