PITTSBURGH — Over the last six-plus weeks, Sidney Crosby has made consistent progress as he recovers from left wrist surgery. But the injury itself, and the nagging effects, date back much further.
“The first time I ever injured it was seven years ago,” Crosby said in some of his first public comments since the Sept. 8 surgery. “[Ryan Reaves] got ahold of me pretty good after the Olympics. It’s something I’ve kind of had to manage since then.”
The Penguins captain said that the injury went in waves. He’d rest and recover over the summer. Then, during various points in the season, it would flare back up again. He made pain management and rehab a part of his daily routine.
From the start of the 2014-15 season until last year (the seven seasons in which the wrist was an issue), Crosby still remained one of the game’s elite players, tallying 212 goals, 556 points and a plus-59 rating. He finished within the top five in Hart Trophy voting four times in that span, including a fourth-place finish last season.
And the wrist evidently didn’t hurt so badly when Crosby was raising the Stanley Cup over his head — twice.
“Everyone deals with stuff,” Crosby said. “You play long enough and things add up. This is something I was able to manage. There were points it bugged me more than others. It wasn’t terrible. Just something kind of nagging. You just get used to it.”
The ongoing ailment came more to the forefront ahead of the 2020-21 season. Crosby and the team’s medical staff determined it was best for him to have wrist debridement surgery on Aug. 31, 2020, a procedure to clean out debris and other irritants.
The hope was that minimally invasive procedure could help him avoid something more significant. This offseason, Crosby was waiting for his wrist to recover like it normally does. But that day never came. He said surgery was the “last resort.”
“We all felt like it was something I wouldn’t have gotten through the season if I didn’t take care of it,” Crosby said. “Unfortunately, I had to miss some time here early. The other side of it was missing a lot more games in the middle of the year. I’m glad we took care of it. Hopefully I can get back to playing here shortly.”
Crosby has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. To this point, there’s no public timeline for a return.