Updated at 2:02 p.m.
Sidney Crosby has had “significant improvements” in his recovery from concussion symptons, but there remains no timetable for his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins, he said at a press conference today in Pittsburgh.
In his first press conference since being injured, Crosby said he will not return until he is 100 percent healthy and said it was “likely” that he would play this season.
And, naturally, he was asked about those retirement murmurs, whispers and shouts. “Mentally, I’ve felt good. I’m really happy with the last two weeks. It’s been a tough road. Retirement, no. I’ve always thought about the consequences with this injury and making sure I’m smart with it because at the end of the day retirement is the last thing I want.”
Admitting that he still has slight headaches, Crosby said, “This is the best I've felt in a long time. These last three weeks have been really good. I feel myself getting better and better.”
As for those headaches, he said: “Trust me, that’s a long way from where I was in January.”
He said he’d had had “very bad migraines” since January. “Just driving or watching TV, even having the radio on in the car. I tried to go to a meeting, and just watching video it felt like I was stressing my system,” he said. “Those were kind of the worst parts. I had a couple of very bad migraines. You feel like you’re making progress. You have a few good days and a few bad days and it’s impossible to predict.”
One of his physicians, Michael Collins, said: “Sid has made exceptional progress. At this point in time ....I can tell you his data is the best we've seen. It is approaching normal limits. It is not there yet.”
This, clearly, is going to take time. “We're going to introduce contact with Sid very carefully,” Collins said, “and we're not even close to that.”
All of which is pretty sobering and leads to the conclusion that Crosby could be a significant voice in the chorus calling for safer rules. “Guys are responsible with their sticks, why shouldn’t they be responsible with their bodies?” As for headshots: “At the end of the day, I don’t think there’s a reason not to take them out.”
Filed at 12:15 p.m.
Crosby has not played since Jan. 5 because of lingering symptoms from concussions and still has not been cleared for contact. He began skating in July but suffered headaches and was re-evaluated by concussion experts, who altered his workout routine.
Crosby, who has not addressed his recovery since April, is expected to be joined by concussion experts at the press conference. (Watch here: WPXI.com is carrying it live.)
“We always knew this was going to be a progressive recovery -- based on how he felt,” Pat Brisson, Crosby’s agent, said via Reuters. “With a concussion, there is not a finite recovery period ... That's why we've never even set a specific goal for a return date like the start of training camp or Oct. 1 or anything else. He will play when he is symptom free.”