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Ankle soreness shelves Penguins' Crosby

By Mike Prisuta
Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Penguins maintain if Sunday's game with Philadelphia were a playoff game, Sidney Crosby would be playing.

"For sure," Crosby confirmed Friday.

Since it isn't, Crosby will sit, this time for at least a week.

The Penguins announced yesterday their intention to shut down Crosby for a week to combat soreness being experienced by Crosby in the wake of his return from a right high ankle sprain that forced him to miss 21 games.

"It's more or less just soreness," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. "The best thing is to pull him back a bit and let him get better.

"It's hard to reel him in. He wants to play. He wants to practice. But I think in the end, when we look back, this will probably be the best decision. I'm happy that it's made, finally. Let him get 100 percent and go from there."

Crosby also cited the strength of his ankle as an issue.

"It's a lot of things," he said.

Crosby first suffered the sprain Jan. 18 against Tampa Bay.

He returned March 4 at Tampa Bay and registered two goals and two assists in three games, with both of his goals coming March 9 at Washington.

But Crosby experienced increased soreness in his ankle following the Penguins' morning skate prior to their game Wednesday night against Buffalo and didn't play against the Sabres.

He didn't practice yesterday, when the Pens returned to the ice following a scheduled off day.

"It was a little bit more sore, a little bit more weak," Crosby said of his ankle in the aftermath of the Capitals' game. "When it's weak, that's when you start flirting with danger a bit.

"It's just one of those nagging things. I know what's coming up here in the future. I want to give it the best possible chance to be strong. It's important I give it a little more time."

If he misses a week as anticipated, Crosby would return to the lineup March 22 against New Jersey.

The Penguins visit the Rangers on Tuesday night and host Tampa Bay on Thursday.

"It's common sense more than anything," Shero said. "He could go out there and practice (today), but the nags and the aches are still gonna be there. If we can sit him down for a little bit of time here and re-evaluate, I think we'll be better off for it."

Crosby said he hoped to be back on the ice "sooner rather than later," and that he would put limitations upon himself in any individual workouts he may conduct over the next week.

While admittedly frustrated, Crosby also said it's been "encouraging to see the way we've reacted."

The Penguins are 12-6-4 without Crosby in the lineup.

"It's almost been a day at a time here the last week trying to figure out what's going on," Crosby said. " There's no real cure. Time is going to heal it and make it better. But that's not the way things are going to work out for us this year. Hopefully, we're gonna have a good playoff run.

"I'm just trying to make sure that I give it the best chance possible."

He acknowledged the possibility that he won't be pain free for the rest of the season.

"I hope every morning when I wake up it's gone," Crosby said. "I really don't know."



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