First, there was an off-ice sighting of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby on Saturday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Then there was an upbeat — if not overly detailed — update on Crosby’s progress in the wake of his wrist surgery.
Crosby walked past a group of reporters who were waiting for interviews as the main group’s practice was winding down. Wearing long sleeves, it was difficult to see what might be going on at this point with his left wrist, site of the surgery Sept. 8. He did not speak with reporters other than to offer a couple quick hellos.
A little later, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was asked for any sort of update, and none of what he offered was at all discouraging.
“Sid is progressing with both his on-ice and off-ice rehab,” Sullivan said. “He’s been on the ice a lot, with Ty Hennes, our skills coach.”
Earlier sightings of Crosby’s skating indicated he was using only his right hand on his stick. It’s unclear if that is still the case,.
“We’re really encouraged with the progress that he’s made,” Sullivan said. “He’s in really good shape from all the skating that he’s done.
“We’re looking forward to the next steps, but we’re really encouraged with the progress that he’s made.”
Sullivan did not divulge what those next steps in Crosby’s rehab and recovery might be or indicate whether Crosby’s timetable has shifted in any way.
Initial reports from the Penguins were that Crosby would miss at least six weeks. That would have him sitting out the first handful of games. The opener is 10 days from now, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay.
The wrist has been a chronic problem for Crosby for several years. He had an arthroscopic procedure about a year before this one, but this summer apparently the wrist did not respond or heal as it has in previous offseasons, so surgery for a longer-term fix became the best option.
Getting Crosby back sooner rather than later would be a boon to the Penguins in any circumstance, but particularly this season with fellow star center Evgeni Malkin expected to miss the first couple months of the season after knee surgery.