"I'm not 100 percent yet, but I've come a long way in the last couple months," he told reporters at the Blackhawks Convention at the Hilton Chicago on Friday, according to Eric Lear of the team's website. "It hasn't been easy, but I'll be back."
When exactly Crawford will be back isn't crystal clear. Both general manager Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville expect him to be back in time for training camp and the start of the season, but Crawford himself isn't as confident.
"That's hard to say right now, but it's very possible," he told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. "We've come a long way in the last couple months, and there's a really good chance that could happen."
Crawford didn't dive into any specifics regarding his injury or his off-ice workouts, but he did say "treatments are going well and we’re making small steps," according to Lazerus.
The 33-year-old hasn't played in a game since Dec. 23, and made only 28 appearances last year. He hasn't been on the ice since he re-joined the Blackhawks for practice in February, before he was shutdown for the remainder of the season.
When he did play a season ago, Crawford was brilliant, going 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. It goes without saying that Crawford's health is a major factor into whether or not the Blackhawks can return to the postseason during the upcoming campaign.
Veteran Cam Ward was signed for insurance, and Anton Forsberg is still in the fold, but even with a roster containing future Hall of Famers like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith, Crawford is arguably the team's most important player.