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Crosby Back at Practice; No Timetable for Return

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby participated in his first team practice in nearly a month Friday afternoon at Southpointe. He will not play in the Penguins’ Saturday regular season finale against Carolina and there is no timetable for a return to game action.

“It’s nice to get out there with the team,” Crosby said, “and get a full practice in.”

Crosby skates on Friday at Southpointe

Crosby has missed the team’s last 11 games with a broken jaw. Crosby will not be able to return until he gets approval from his doctors. But as soon as he’s given clearance he expects to be back in the lineup.

“(Returning) is not really up to me,” Crosby said. “I’ll just keep talking with the doctors. It’s something they have to feel comfortable with the healing. As soon as they say the word, I’ll be ready to go.”

The Penguins captain had been skating with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for the past 10 days. Crosby said there hasn’t been much discomfort with his jaw while skating with his protective headgear – which features a special shield around his jaw.

“It’s pretty good,” he said. “I can tell there is something wrong, but it’s not anything that’s been too painful. The last week or so has been pretty good.”

Crosby, 25, had dental work done Thursday and was cleared to return to team practice.

“A couple root canals, it wasn’t a big deal at all,” he said.

Crosby has been out of the lineup since a deflected puck broke his jaw March 30 against the NY Islanders. He had surgery on his jaw and had major dental work following the game.

Crosby ranks second (tied) in the NHL in scoring with 56 points (15G-41A) in 36 games this season.

Crosby was named Team MVP for the 2012-13 season and is the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Award – given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey – after returning to his high level of play following two injury-plagued seasons with a concussion and neck injury.

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