Crosby speaks out about setback

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins walks off the ice after losing to the Washington Capitals...

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins walks off the ice after losing to the Washington Capitals in the NHL's Winter Classic hockey game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania January 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Dave Denoma)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:35 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- Losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round wasn't the only sore point amid the abrupt end to the Pittsburgh Penguins season.

As Pittsburgh players emptied their lockers Friday, captain Sidney Crosby admitted he has had a setback in his recovery from a concussion that kept him out of the lineup since Jan. 5.

"I started to get some symptoms, probably a week and a half ago, whenever I stopped skating," Crosby said to reporters in Pittsburgh as he spoke for the first time since the playoffs began.

"I started trying to ramp things up a bit as far as working out and skating, and I got a little bit of symptoms. So I had a setback, (headaches) and all the stuff that goes along with it. The progression had gone pretty well, but at the same time I still wasn't ready."

The setback was serious enough that Crosby shut down his workout regime and said he didn't know when he would return.

The Penguins were eliminated in seven games by the Bolts, who opened their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Capitals Friday night.

"Having gone through that, you don't want to go through that again," Crosby said at his stall in the Penguins dressing room. "I don't want to sit here for a few weeks and pushing to work out and get back too quick. That won't happen. I just want to make sure that when I do start working out again I won't have to deal with symptoms.

"I'd rather wait that extra bit of time and make sure when I come back it's all right."

It is probably no coincidence the Penguins began to struggle after news of Crosby's worsened condition. After jumping out to a 3-1 series lead over the Lightning, they lost the final three, including a pair at home.

Crosby rejected that notion, however.

"I don't think anyone's psyche changed based on when I stopped skating," the native of Cole Harbour, N.S., said. "What we went through this year, the adversity we faced, was a lot.

"The way guys responded was pretty amazing. I don't think when you go through all that, me not skating for a couple of days isn't going to change anything. Guys were mentally tough to deal with everything we dealt with.

"For me to be able to skate and be around the guys was important for me. I think that had a lot to do with me being able to recover as fast as possible, too, being around the guys and seeing how well they're playing. I think that made things easier."

If and when Crosby returns to action, he says he doesn't plan to change the way he plays.

"The first couple of games back it might be a little weird to play in a game and get hit and go through that," Crosby said. "Anyone who has gone through this will tell you, you need to get those first couple of hits in.

"I can't play different. I only know one way to play. I'm not going to change my game or anything like that. I have to play the same way. The reason you make sure you're recovered is so you can do that."


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