Penguins captain Sidney Crosby benched indefinitely with injury to face

After jaw surgery, prognosis awaited


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Penguins general manager Ray Shero wasn't sure what he would see Sunday when he visited center and team captain Sidney Crosby at UPMC Presbyterian.

"He's up and about. He looked better than I thought he would," said Shero, adding that Crosby is "in good spirits."

Crosby, who is leading the National Hockey League with 56 points and 41 assists, got hit in the mouth by a puck in a 2-0 victory Saturday against the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

Bernard Costello performed surgery for a broken jaw. Crosby also had extensive dental work and will need further treatment.

Shero didn't describe the nature of the surgery, but Crosby's jaw is not wired shut. That usually means the jaw was repaired sufficiently through surgery, perhaps including the use of metal such as plates or screws.

It seems unlikely Crosby will play Tuesday when the Buffalo Sabres visit Consol Energy Center. The team hopes to get an idea later this week how long Crosby might be out of the lineup. The playoffs begin in about a month.

"I don't even want to speculate," Shero said. "Let's just see what the week brings."

Shero said Crosby's jaw apparently is the primary concern in terms of Crosby's return or long-term health. Crosby missed most of the previous two seasons because of concussion and neck problems.

For now, Crosby is on a liquid or soft-food diet -- shakes, Shero said -- and he could get out of the hospital soon. Shero said Crosby will need to work on taking in a proper amount of calories and "get his cardio going."

It works in Crosby's favor that his jaw is not wired shut. It's believed that NHL players aren't given medical clearance to play if their jaws are wired.

Shero noted that when Crosby gets medical clearance, he could be fitted with additional protective gear for his jaw. Crosby wears a visor on his helmet, but it doesn't protect the lower portion of his face.

Crosby got hurt early in the first period Saturday, on his first shift. A heavy shot taken by teammate Brooks Orpik at the left point glanced off of New York's Brad Boyes and deflected upward, catching Crosby in the mouth as he stood in the lower part of the left circle.

"He saw replays of it," Shero said. "He didn't have time to react to it."

Although the NHL trade deadline is Wednesday, Shero said he has not altered his personnel plans based on Crosby's injury.

"We've got the bodies," said Shero, whose roster can be expanded Wednesday beyond the 23-man limit.

"We've played without Sidney before. We've played without [Evgeni Malkin] before. That's the adversity you go through."

In addition to Crosby, defenseman Paul Martin, as expected, had surgery Sunday for a broken bone. The club revealed the break is in his hand, believed to be his left hand.

Martin is expected to miss four to six weeks, although Shero said Martin's situation is "as good as can be expected."

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For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter: @pgshelly. First Published April 1, 2013 4:00 AM


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