PITTSBURGH — The Penguins will be forced to start the season without their captain, after Sidney Crosby underwent wrist surgery Wednesday.
Crosby will be sidelined a minimum of six weeks, the team announced. With the Oct. 12 season-opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning less than five weeks away, that means he'll miss the entirety of training camp and at least the first few games of the regular season.
“Obviously, we all hoped we wouldn’t have to go this way,” general manager Ron Hextall said. “We did everything we could to obviously avoid this. In the end, it was the best way to proceed. The focus was having Sid back at 100 percent or as close to 100 percent as possible. This was the proper avenue to go.”
The injury is not new, but instead something Crosby has tried to manage for years. In August 2020, for example, he underwent arthroscopic wrist debridement surgery to the same wrist. After exploring minimally invasive options, the club ultimately decided surgery was Crosby’s best route.
Asked why the procedure was not performed earlier in the offseason to allow more ample time for recovery, Hextall said it was just part of the “process” to determine the best path for a nagging injury.
“At the end of the year, you let the body heal, test things out,” Hextall said. “It takes weeks to see where the wrist is at and if it can get through another year. At some point, you ramp things up along the way. The conclusion that we came to was this procedure was the best way to proceed.
“We all, including Sid, wish that we knew this a month or two months ago. It would have been great,” he said. “But we are where we are.”
The injury news is the second significant offseason blow to the depth at center. The club is already planning to start the season without Evgeni Malkin, who underwent right knee surgery in early June.
Hextall did not provide any more information about Malkin’s timeline for a return when asked Wednesday. He said the club expects to know more when training camp opens in late September.
“It’s not ideal,” Hextall said. “Let’s be honest. But we’re not going to sit there and feel sorry for ourselves. We still have to find ways to win games. We’re not going to replace Sid and Geno, obviously. So we’ll need different guys to step up on any given night and play a hard brand of hockey.”