Sidney Crosby: 'Glad to be back'
Sidney Crosby couldn't help but smile when thousands of Penguins fans erupted in ovation as he skated onto the Consol Energy Center ice for practice Saturday morning.
Turns out he had plenty to smile about.
The first practice of Penguins training camp felt more like an event, as Crosby skated with teammates for the first time since April 20. He still was smiling more than an hour after a rigorous workout.
There were no headaches, no bouts with dizziness and no apparent lack of conditioning. It was a small but significant step in Crosby's return to health, and it left the Penguins' captain in a positive mood.
"I feel good," Crosby said. "Glad to be back out there."
There was nothing easy about yesterday's practice. Skating in Group C, Crosby was on the ice for more than an hour. He has said that exerting himself 100 percent has occasionally led to headaches, and it's hard to imagine Crosby handling a greater workload than he did yesterday.
"I worked as hard as I possibly could out there," Crosby said. "I think that's probably the longest I went at that pace. It felt good."
Crosby will practice again today in a workout that is open to the public.
Beyond that, he said will take a cautious approach.
"It's going to be a day-to-day thing," he said. "I won't be able to give you a seven-day outlook, really."
Still, a feeling of guarded optimism was evident.
This marked the first time Crosby has skated before a Consol Energy Center audience since Jan. 5, when he sustained a concussion against Tampa Bay. The support Crosby received did not go unnoticed.
"I appreciate all of that," he said. "I miss being out there and appreciate the ovation I got there."
Crosby also addressed questions about his medical team, saying "there is no division" among personnel treating him for concussion symptoms.
"I don't really know where that came from," he said.
Ted Carrick, a Florida-based chiropractor who has been working with Crosby for a month, told a Pittsburgh radio station Friday that "Sid's as ready for physical contact as just about any player in the NHL."
That contradicted a Sept. 7 comment from Michael Collins, the clinical neuropsychologist who diagnosed Crosby with a concussion Jan. 6. Collins said at the time Crosby wasn't close to participating in contact drills.
"As far as the final say, that's going to be our team doctor (Dr. Chip Burke)," Crosby said. "He's got to be the one who clears me to play."
Crosby hopes yesterday represents a big step toward his return.
"I want to get back," Crosby said. "I'm doing everything I can in my power to make sure that's as soon as possible."
By the numbers
Sidney Crosby practiced with the Penguins for the first time since April 20. Here are some notable numbers from practice:
>> 66: Minutes Crosby skated
>> 4: Goals he scored on consecutive shots during a drill against goalie Brad Thiessen
>> 1:10: Time of crowd's standing ovation when Crosby took the ice
>> 1: Players wearing a white, noncontact helmet in Group C workout (Crosby)
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