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Pens GM Shero's Transcript on Sidney Crosby

Wednesday, 03.30.2011 / 1:31 PM / Features
Pittsburgh Penguins
Below is Penguins general manager Ray Shero's transcript on the injury update of captain Sidney Crosby, who will be rejoining the team Thursday for their game-day skate in Tampa Bay but still has no expectations for his return at this point.

Watch Shero's Media Conference here >

On Sidney Crosby:
Good afternoon everybody. I just want to take a couple minutes here to address the latest on Sidney Crosby. There’s been a lot of speculation out there since he returned to skating a few days ago. He will be rejoining the team tomorrow in practice – but not to get ahead of ourselves, I just want to be clear on a couple things, as an update from myself. While he’s cleared to return to practice, we don’t anticipate him practicing with us all the time. It’s going to be a situation with game day skates. It’s a natural return for his progression here. His rehab has been ongoing. He’s doing well with it, but at the same time, as a manager, I have no expectations of him coming back and playing in the regular season. That’s not going to happen. In terms of playing in the playoffs for us, that’s something that’s still two or three weeks away. I don’t want to take any hope away from the players, but to return to game action for the Stanley Cup playoffs takes a certain type of fitness and (being) game-ready. He is certainly not close to that at this point. While he is doing well, he’s making steps and he’ll be on the ice (Thursday) for a game-day skate with team. It’s another step in the progression for him to get him on the ice with 20 other players. This will not be happening every day. So just to be clear as to where we were two weeks ago – there was talk about him retiring, which was ridiculous. There was talk about him coming back April 5, not happening. So I just wanted to make sure there’s not any miscommunication here as to where we’re coming from. There’s no strategic plan from myself and Dan Bylsma to reintroduce him in our lineup at any certain day or time. This is a complex injury. I think we all know that. I think we’re happy as to where he is in terms of getting back on the ice. His off-ice program is continuing, which is good. That’s really where we are. We look forward to having him back on the road trip with us. I know he’s excited to get on the plane with the team this afternoon and get on the road for the first time in a little while with the guys. So, it’s another step. But I just want to take a step back and kind of temper some of the enthusiasm for any certain date that he’s coming back to play. That’s not the expectation of the manager, and it’s not the expectation of the coach.

On Crosby being cleared for morning-skates but not off-day practices:
That will be the plan, just to get him in the morning skates, just to see how he responds to that. Over the last three weeks or so, he’s got his off-ice plan that he’s been doing. He’s got certain things that he does off the ice, certain exercises – and he does those. He’s tolerated them well. I’ve dealt with Dr. Collins and Dr. Burke at this point – both with Sid and my son – so I have a pretty good idea as to where he is. I keep saying progression – but it is part of the therapy and part of the progression to see how he handles certain things when they’re introduced to him. So far, they’ve been pretty good. And that’s great news. But as I’ve said, not to get the expectation out there that were counting on him to be back any time soon. That’s not the expectation. Having said that, I don’t want to take hope away from a player, because he’s feeling good about himself. But when we talk to Dan Bylsma or a coach, we don’t look to a certain date as to when Sid might be coming back. A certain date could be training camp, just to be honest with everybody. I know there’s lots of things that are out there, I just wanted you to hear it from me as to what I think is going to happen, my expectations. We’re dealing with a little bit of the unknown, too, here with concussions.

On Crosby being non-contact:
I think it’s just the same thing as the step-by-step here. He’s cleared the skate. And he’s cleared to join the team in morning skates, we’ll see where he is and how he responds to that. We’re not at a point of contact at any point. I’m not even talking about that at this point. That’s why I kind of go back to what I’m saying – the expectation to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs, we know what we have to go through in training camp to get ready for the regular season. He’s a pretty diligent worker as we know, but he’s not cleared for contact, or anything like that. This is part of the next step, and we’ll see how he handles that and go from there.

On being clear that the only difference between Sid’s workouts is that he will be with the team:
Correct. He continues his off-ice workouts. So it’s not going to be a situation where he’s every day on the ice. We don’t have that expectation. If he’s not on the ice one day, people may question if he’s had a setback. But this is part of the plan. When he’s not on the ice for a certain day, he’s doing his off-ice exercises. He continues to do that. For him to get on the plane at 2:00 I think is a good thing for him to get with the team and get with the guys. This is his first trip. He’s looking forward to that and getting on the ice (Thursday) with the guys. We’ll see how he responds to that versus getting on the ice by himself or maybe with five guys.

On if Crosby might rush things:
I don’t think so. This is an injury that is so symptom-based, and he knows his symptoms. People who have been through this can tell you the same thing. He’ll know when he needs to pull back a little bit. He’ll know if he has a symptom, how if that lasts a certain amount of time that it will usually clear. But the last thing we’re going to do with Sidney Crosby – or any player – is push him if they’re not ready for that. And this is kind of doctor’s orders on top of that. I think we’re comfortable with that, and he is very comfortable with it. With a younger captain, and probably the best player in the world, when you’re dealing with these things, the questions are out there, the speculations, but he’s been dealing with this for almost three months. He does know his body well. He knows his injury at this point. My expectation at this point is that he’s not going to push himself too much, but he’ll push himself enough where he feels good, and if he doesn’t he’ll pull back a little bit.
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