PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Sidney Crosby was never close to returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a Stanley Cup run, revealing on Friday that the concussion-related symptoms that sidelined him since January have not gone away.
Out of action since January 5, there was speculation Crosby might be near a return during the Penguins' first-round playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning after the captain began working out in full equipment.
"The progression had gone pretty well but at the same time I still wasn't ready."
With the Penguins now eliminated from the post-season, all speculation surrounding Crosby's return ends but his long-range future remains clouded.
"My expectation was that I wouldn't play (in the playoffs) but I was trying to make sure that if there was any chance and it was possible to come back, that I was ready -- and I did everything I could to be ready for that," said Crosby. "It's frustrating and disappointing.
"You can't really control any of that. All I can control is what I was doing off the ice and trying to rehab.
Crosby will have the summer to recuperate but did not rule out the possibility that he may not be ready to return when training camp begins.
"I've got to wait until I feel a bit better before I can really start doing anything," said Crosby. "They want to keep a pretty close eye on things."
The NHL's biggest draw, Crosby has not played since he was slammed into the end boards by defenseman Victor Hedman in early January. That collision came four days after the Canadian Olympic hero was knocked to the ice by Washington's David Steckel during the New Year's Day Winter Classic.
Until then Crosby was enjoying perhaps his best season. At the time of his injury he was the NHL's runaway scoring leader with 66 points in 41 games.
"The great news is that he's got all kinds of time on his side right now," said Penguins general manager Ray Shero.
"It's just a matter of time with this injury. I'm not concerned with it."
(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Frank Pingue)