Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby was expected to miss six weeks after undergoing left wrist surgery early September, but the six-week mark passed Wednesday and the three-time Stanley Cup winner still doesn't have a timetable to return. It's a troubling development for Crosby, who's dealt with wrist pain since just after the 2014 Winter Olympics, as his left wrist was surgically repaired in September 2020 as well.
While Crosby is disappointed about missing the start of the NHL season, the eight-time All-Star is hoping the wrist issues he's faced for years will soon be a distant memory.
"It was something I was able to manage (for years)," said Crosby, who doesn't anticipate needing another wrist surgery. "There were points where it bugged me more than others. You just get used to it. ... It became more and more of a factor last year and then into the summer. Just had to take care of it."
"So I think we all felt like it was something I wouldn't have got through this season if I didn't take care of it," the 34-year-old center added. "Unfortunately end up missing some time here early, but I guess the other side of that was missing a lot more games, probably, in the middle of the year."
Crosby returned to practice Oct. 9 and skated with his team for an hour-plus on Friday. The Penguins have gone 2-0-2 without the two-time Hart Trophy winner, but their mounting injuries may require him to return sooner rather than later. Pittsburgh is missing Evgeni Malkin (knee), Bryan Rust (lower-body injury) and Jeff Carter (COVID-19) along with Crosby.
A current sticking point in Crosby's recovery is ensuring he's healthy enough to handle his usual workload of 20-25 faceoffs a game. Faceoffs require quick and powerful wrist movement, an ability Crosby has lacked since returning to the ice.
"I haven't really had any force, whether it's faceoff, lifting sticks ... battling, pushing around," Crosby said. "Those are things I haven't been able to do. When I'm able to do that comfortably or do it without pain or being able to manage those things, I think that'll be a big step."
The Penguins return to the ice Saturday at 7 p.m. ET against the Toronto Maple Leafs.