Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss the 2011 All-Star Game presented by Discover, but he said he's continuing to make progress from a concussion that has sidelined him for nearly three weeks.
Crosby was injured Jan. 5, when Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman checked Crosby into the boards during a game. Since then, Crosby said he's dealt with a sore neck and headaches, among other issues, but those symptoms have been getting less intense and less frequent.
"The good thing is the last four or five days have been pretty good," Crosby told reporters Monday in Pittsburgh. "But that's not to say that tomorrow could 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 it (his return) will be sooner than later. But it's still pretty hard to tell."
Crosby has not been cleared for any physical activity, and already has been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Islanders, which will be his ninth-straight on the sideline. And he won't be attending any of the All-Star Weekend festivities in Raleigh, N.C.
When Crosby missed the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal because of a knee injury, he was present for off-ice activities. This time, however, he's going to remain home and work on getting better.
"Sidney is making progress in his recovery but still is not completely symptom-free," Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said. "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.
"I know Sidney is very honored to have been selected by the fans to appear in the All-Star Game, and he was happy to attend the festivities two years ago when he couldn't play because of a knee injury. However, in this situation -- when he has not even skated for 2 1/2 weeks and still has not been cleared to resume physical activity -- we think it's best for him to focus totally on his recovery."
Crosby said he's spoken frequently with NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan and giving him updates on his health.
"I've been talking to Brendan Shanahan the last week or so, giving him an update on my status and (the League has) been great," said Crosby. "Obviously he's someone who dealt with a concussion, too. It was good to talk to him and hear about what he went through."
Crosby said Shanahan has advised him to be patient, something that sounds easy but is becoming more and more difficult by the day for Crosby.
"It's really difficult," said Crosby. "It doesn't get any easier with each day that goes by. It's tougher and tougher to work your way back into it. At the end of the day, you have to keep reminding yourself that you have to make sure everything is clear and that when you do come back you're ready to come back and go hard and do those things it takes to get back."
When that happens, however, remains unknown. Crosby said he speaks with doctors daily to keep them abreast of his condition.
"There's a lot of communication," he said. "They need to know exactly what your symptoms are, and find out as much as they about what's causing them. If they can get a grasp on that, they're able to help. I think that's a lot of communication. Every day you're constantly evaluating yourself and they're doing the same."
As difficult as it is for Crosby to sit out, he's smart enough to know that rushing back too soon could cause more harm than good.
"It's something you're seeing more and more guys being really careful with this," said Crosby. "And it's for a good reason. You don't want to get into a situation where there's multiple ones or you come back too early. It's not going to do me any good to come back too early and be feeling like I do now, and obviously putting myself at risk to have it happen again. That's not doing anyone any good."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org