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Sidney Crosby diagnosed with concussion

Penguins captain injured during practice Friday, no timeline for return

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion, general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby sustained the concussion during practice Friday. It was his second practice with the team since helping Team Canada win the championship at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Sullivan did not provide a recovery timeline or specifics on what caused the concussion. Crosby did not practice Monday because of concussion testing.

"The details of those things, we would prefer to keep in house," Sullivan said.

Crosby had said after practice Friday that he intended to play in the preseason finale Saturday, but those plans changed when Crosby said he wasn't feeling well after arriving at PPG Paints Arena.

"We had him in the lineup to play in the last exhibition Saturday," Sullivan said. "He came to the rink and that morning reported to our medical staff that he wasn't feeling well. We went from there. We took him out of the lineup, and [Monday] he went through a concussion protocol and he was diagnosed with a concussion. So our medical staff will take the appropriate measures moving forward."

Crosby did appear during Pittsburgh's Fan Fest event at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Concussion-related issues caused Crosby to miss 101 games during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. He experienced symptoms after taking hits in consecutive games Jan. 1 and Jan. 5, 2011, and missed the remainder of the regular season, the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first 20 games of 2011-12. He returned to the lineup Nov. 21, 2011, but played eight games before a recurrence of concussion symptoms sidelined him until March 15, 2012. He played 22 games and had eight goals and 37 points.

Video: Penguins announce Crosby diagnosed with concussion

"We take all of the concussions that our players get afflicted with seriously," Sullivan said. "So our medical staff follows strict guidelines. There's a certain protocol and that's how our team operates. We always have our players' best interest [in mind], and health is the priority. 

"Regardless of who the player is that's how we feel. We've always felt that way. This one will be no different."

Sullivan said he has not sensed frustration from Crosby regarding the concussion.

"I think it is what it is," he said. "Injuries are a part of our game. Part of the challenge for us is to try help Sid get healthy as quickly as possible. That's what we're going to do. We don't look at it any other way. For me, frustration at this point is a useless emotion."

In his first 18 games last season Crosby had two goals and nine points, but rebounded to finish with 36 goals and 85 points in 80 games. He continued to trend upward during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he had six goals and 19 points in 24 games, won the Conn Smythe Trophy and helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup.

He also was named MVP of the World Cup after leading all scorers with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) to help Team Canada win the tournament.

"He's obviously an important player for us," Sullivan said. "But our team has dealt with injuries in the past to some of our key players. As we've always said in instances where some of our players go down with injuries, it provides opportunities for others to step up. So that's just the nature of our business.

"We're fortunate we have the depth that we have. We believe we have capable people that can help this team win. That's how we'll approach it."

Matt Cullen, 39, replaced Crosby at center between left wing Conor Sheary and right wing Patric Hornqvist during practice Monday. Forward Nick Bonino took Crosby's spot on the first power-play unit, alongside forwards Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist, and defenseman Kris Letang.

"We believe we have a strong leadership group," Sullivan said. "Obviously Sid is our captain, but in the absence of Sid in the lineup we have strong leadership and veteran guys, whether they wear a letter or don't wear a letter, that have really provided the necessary leadership. So we're fortunate we have the type of people in the locker room that we have."

The Penguins will raise their Stanley Cup banner before opening the regular season against the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports 2).

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