Sidney Crosby's Absence: We Were Told This Could Happen, and It Has; Calm Down

James ConleyContributor IIIDecember 12, 2011

Crosby will return. Seriously
Crosby will return. SeriouslyJamie Sabau/Getty Images

Sidney Crosby isn't retiring.

Write it down, say it out loud a few times and, if need be, have it tattooed to your forehead and branded to the palms of your hands.

"I'm not happy about watching," Crosby said Monday. "But I have to make sure with these sort of things that I'm careful and making sure I'm 100 percent before coming back."

"No timetable."

This precautionary absence is exactly the sort of thing Crosby, the Penguins and everyone following the story had been warned was possible. Concussions are compounding injuries, and the best way to manage them is to stay off the ice as long as the symptoms are present.

"No timetable." It sounds damning enough. It means uncertainty, and by God, we demand absolution.

Looking past the fire and brimstone, however, "no timetable" simply means Crosby will come back when he's good and ready. Sure, he was hurt again. It's not a good thing—nor was it totally unforeseen. There were plans in place to handle a recurrence of symptoms, and one can be sure the Penguins, their doctors and 87 are following those plans accordingly.

Above all else comes Crosby's well-being. Tending to that well-being is precisely what he is doing, is precisely what he should be doing, and is precisely what we were told would be the norm in such a situation.

We all knew he might experience a setback.

So why the Glenn Beckian response to something we were told could happen from the get-go?

“I just didn’t feel right,” Crosby said. “I skated the following day after that with a little bit of exertion. I just didn't feel right. After talking with everyone I figured it was better to be cautious and not take any chances. That's where I'm at right now.”

Does that sound like the lament of a man who thinks his career might be over?

The notion that Crosby is going to call it quits is every bit as asinine now as it was in August, June or April. His condition, as far as we on the outside can tell, was favorable enough to allow a comeback in November.

Keep in mind where Crosby was earlier this year compared to now. From what was reported this spring, Crosby apparently couldn't sit in a windowless room without closing the blinds.

Monday, he was still engaging in light workouts while beginning the comeback process of skating, contact and eventually playing.

If the symptoms haven't kept him from engaging in light workouts, we aren't even close to the DEFCON-1 levels of uncertainty and fear that consumed the summer.

None of this is to say his condition ought to be taken lightly. Unless Crosby is completely clear of symptoms for a good, long time, the Penguins have no need to rush him back. Evgeni Malkin and James Neal are scoring like mad men, Marc-Andre Fleury has managed to stay healthy and despite over 130 man-games lost to injury already, the Penguins are within swinging distance of first place in the NHL.

That sort of early-season cushion makes Crosby's comeback dependent only on how he feels and what his doctors say.

To say they rushed him back, too, is crazy.

Crosby reported that he was in good health in returning, and certainly looked to be, potting 12 points in his eight games back. This hit from Boston's David Krejci is the presumed cause of Crosby's latest layoff.

Everyone knew the risk of a hit like this taking place, and it has. We were told that any recurrence of symptoms would be met with the same indefinite period of healing, and by all accounts, the Penguins aren't going to rush their prized asset back to the ice before he's healthy.

This summer was replete with apocalyptic accounts of dizziness, non-contact and non-updates on the Kid's condition. Countless guesses were made at whether he was already finished.

And here we are again. Crosby's out, and the dreaded "indefinite" deadline for his return is stirring the crazy coals in the hyperbole fire that accompanies him no matter what he says or does.

For once, let common sense reign. Crosby isn't retiring. We've seen how the process works, and we know exactly what to expect.

There's really nothing more to it.

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