Crosby, the leading All-Star vote-getter, injured his right ankle Friday during the Penguins' 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay. If he takes eight weeks to heal -- and the recovery time for such an injury can vary greatly -- he would return in mid-March, with only about three weeks of the schedule remaining.
"I was hoping three to four weeks would be the most," Crosby said, talking Tuesday for the first time since he was hurt.
Crosby said he must be careful not to rush back and "tweak it a lot, and then we're back to square one. ... Right now, it's all about healing."
Team physician Charles Burke confirmed the injury was a high ankle sprain, but Crosby said there was no bone damage, which would have meant an even longer layoff.
(KEITH SRAKOCIC ~ Associated Press)
The Penguins placed their captain on the injured list Monday, a procedural move that allowed them to add an extra forward for their final two games before the break.
Other athletes who have had a high ankle sprain -- it is common in the NFL -- say it is frustrating because rehabilitation alone can't cure it and considerable rest is needed.
Crosby can't do his normal conditioning and strength-building routine while he is hurt.
"But I can't go into the dressing room pouting, or be in a grumpy mood," Crosby said. "I can't be coming in every day like that. I can't feel sorry for myself. I have to be there to support the team."
The Penguins are 10-1-2 in their last 13 games despite losing 6-5 in a shootout against Washington on Monday night.
Crosby, last season's NHL scoring champion and MVP, shared the league lead with 63 points (20 goals, 43 assists) when he was hurt while crashing into the boards Friday.