Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/18/11
SUNRISE, Fla. -- With two words Friday, Sidney Crosby let NHL fans know they must continue waiting. Nothing new," the Pittsburgh Penguins star center said after a practice in South Florida. As his team prepares for Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers, Crosby, out with concussion-like symptoms since last January, is not yet ready to return. Crosby has been practicing all season with the team and was cleared five weeks ago to engage in contact drills. While there has been speculation for several weeks that he is about to return, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma again let it be known he still hasnt been cleared by a doctor. To clarify and minimize speculation, we will continue to give updates the day before a game on whether he will be playing or not, and he will not be playing (Saturday)," said Bylsma, confirming what Crosby already had revealed. Its an effort to (dismiss) speculation about the date. There is no timetable and no date at this point in time." Bylsmas next update figures to be Sunday, the day before the Penguins play host to the New York Islanders. Until then, the waiting continues. If anything, its been hard on him," said Penguins left wing Matt Cooke. Im sure if it was right, he would have played two weeks ago. Our focus is we want him to be 100 percent healthy. Until that date, we have to go about our business and prepare to be as successful as we can be." There havent been too many complaints about Pittsburghs play without Crosby, who has vowed to not again speak extensively with the media until there is a change in his status. The Panthers entered Friday with an 11-5-3 mark, good for 25 points and tied for second best in the NHL. The hockey world, though, is getting anxious to see the former scoring champion and MVP and 2010 Canadian Olympic hero back on the ice. Lets not kid ourselves," said Panthers coach Kevin Dineen. He is the face of the game right now, and theres a hole in there not having him playing." Dineen compared Crosby to Albert Pujols in baseball and Tom Brady in the NFL. He didnt offer an NBA comparison. Then again, NBA players have been seeing as much action lately as Crosby. Disappointed," Dineen said of Crosby not returning Saturday after there had been some speculation he might. Im looking forward to seeing him play again. I think we all are. Fans and players and coaches. It would have made our task much more difficult. In some ways theres a little bit of relief that youre not the first team to have to face him. But, at the end of the day, the thought to get him back in is stronger than your competitive instinct and you always want to measure yourself against the best. And we wish him a speedy recovery." Crosby hasnt played since taking hits to the head Jan. 1, 2011 against Washington by David Steckel and Jan. 5 against Tampa Bay by Victor Hedman. He then sat out the rest of last season. The Penguins are being very cautious regarding a return. Crosby is being monitored regularly by a doctor, who doesnt go on every road trip but is always in contact with the team. Sid has been rehabbing with us and skating with us," Bylsma said. Hes a part of our team. But we know right now hes not going to be out there with us. And thats something weve been doing for 10 months now. We love to see his rehabbing and we love to see his skating around out there, and hope that he continues to progress and at some point in time rejoins us on the ice...Theres a doctor final approval to get cleared. Clearly on the ice hes a pretty good player out there right now." Bylsma said its only been a distraction when he has to provide the regular updates on Crosby. If they consider the uncertainty surrounding their captain a distraction, Pittsburgh players arent admitting it. But the Penguins have cooled down after a five-game winning streak in late October that pushed their record to 8-2-2. Since then, theyre 3-3-1. I dont have a clue when Sids coming back," said Pittsburgh right wing Arron Asham. But its nice having him around the (locker) room. I went through a concussion last year and definitely know its a tough thing to come back from. Hes going to come back when hes ready, and were going to welcome him with open arms and go from there." Until then, the hockey world must continue to wait.
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