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Pittsburgh Penguins still in the dark about Sidney Crosby’s concussion problems, with no timetable for his return

Feb 8, 2011, 12:55 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malki AP

With injuries to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and even surprisingly effective youngster Mark Letestu – a trio that produced a whopping 34.8 percent of the Pittsburgh Penguins offense – the team must learn to play with a tiny margin of error.

While the Penguins sport a more aggressive, attacking group of defensemen from the blue line, one wonders if the team’s current state gives Ray Shero flashbacks to his days as the assistant general for the Nashville Predators. The team is now low on marquee offensive talent but long on quality from the blue line, talent in net and effort from its forward groups.

Pittsburgh might need to live with that formula for some time, as there is no timetable for Crosby’s return. In fact, the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Crosby missing both the remainder of the season and playoffs because of the mysterious nature of post-concussion syndrome.

Multiple sources said over the weekend that Crosby would not resume normal exercise activity for seven to 10 days, and that the Penguins do not expect him to play against until at least March.

Nobody within Crosby’s camp has ruled out the possibility he could miss the remainder of this season, including the playoffs – but only because recovery from concussions is impossible to predict.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero said “nothing has changed” regarding the status of Crosby, who is not symptom free and remains cleared for only light exercise.

If the Pens learn anything from the Boston Bruins’ fiasco with Marc Savard, it’s that they should handle Crosby’s concussion problems with kid gloves. Even if it costs them what looked like a promising season.

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