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Crosby Cleared For Contact

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared for full contact, but there is no timetable for a possible return to the lineup.

“I was cleared to do contact,” said Crosby, who resumed contact practice with his teammates Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll see how that goes. There is no real timetable, but it’s a good step. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum and get out there soon.”

Crosby, who has been out of the lineup since Dec. 6 with concussion-like symptoms and a neck injury, was experiencing headaches, but has been symptom free for “a few days.”

“I’ve been through this before,” Crosby said. “Contact is the big step. It’s nice to be symptom free, but it’s not as fulfilling until you get out there. I just want to make sure that I take the right steps here and get back out there soon.”

Crosby will try to get through the next few days of practicing with contact before making any decision on returning to game action.

“I’ll give myself days with contact,” he said. “We have two more practices this week. No sooner than Sunday, I would say, but I’m not going to sit here and put a date on it. It would be total guesswork. I just want to make sure I get through these days fine and that would be a great decision to make if I get to that point.”

Crosby, 24, had been skating with teammates sporadically on a non-contact basis since Feb. 6. The team certainly welcomed the opportunity to provide their captain with some contact Tuesday. 

“There were a lot of bumps,” Crosby said. “As soon as they knew I could get contact I was getting a lot of bumps, not even in drills. The lineup was a dangerous place to be today. It was fun to be out there with them and hopefully it’s a regular occurrence.

“I don’t think you’ll ever get what you’ll get in the game. There are the odd times in practice where that may happen. But as far as getting an elbow to the head or shoulder to the face, that won’t really happen in practice.”

On Jan. 31 Crosby was diagnosed with a soft-tissue neck injury that could be causing neurological symptoms, which are similar to concussion symptoms. He was treated with an injection by Dr. Robert S. Bray, a neurological spine specialist based in Los Angeles, to alleviated inflammation in the C1 and C2 joints of the neck.

“The neck stuff certainly helped,” Crosby said. “I definitely felt like I saw improvement with the work on my neck and getting that loose. Was it everything? I don’t know, but it certainly helped. It’s something I’ll continue to do and stay on.”

Crosby was off to his best professional season in 2010-11 with 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games before suffering a concussion in January 2011. The injury caused him to miss 61 consecutive games.

Crosby returned to the ice Nov. 21 against the NY Islanders, posting two goals and four points. He played eight games this season, totaling 12 points (2G-10A) before suffering from the recent setback following a Dec. 5 game against the Boston Bruins.

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