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Crosby, Sheary return to practice

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Captain Sidney Crosby participated in full-team practice with the Pens on Friday afternoon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, his first since suffering a concussion on Monday.

Crosby didn't rule out playing in Game 5 Saturday night at Washington's Verizon Center with his Pens holding a 3-1 series lead.

"We'll see," Crosby said. "I don't want to rule it out. It's not really up to me. You just relay how you feel and direct it from there.

Crosby, who skated on Wednesday and Thursday on his own, participated in full contact and skated on a line with his usual linemates Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist.

"It was good to get out there," Crosby said. "It was good to be out there with the guys. I feel good. Right now I'm just following what I'm told to do.'

Crosby suffered the concussion in the first period of Game 3 after receiving subsequent sticks to the head from Alex Ovechkin and Matt Niskanen. But Crosby knew the following day that it wasn't very severe.

"I felt good right from the next day until now," Crosby said. "I feel as good as you could expect."

On the play in Game 3 Crosby was driving to the net when Ovechkin slashed him in the helmet and clipped his skate. Crosby lost his balance and as he fell to the ice he collided with Niskanen. Again, he took a hit to the head from Niskanen's stick.

"(Ovechkin) is just trying to prevent a goal. That's a pretty common play," Crosby said. "There are different levels of how hard, but that's standard as far as going to the net with the puck, guys are trying to prevent you from shooting.

"The other play (with Niskanen) is hard to say. I'm not going to sit here and guess. It's not one that happens too often."

Crosby has a history with concussions. He missed 61-straight games over the 2010-12 seasons with a concussion and neck injury. Crosby also missed six games at the start of the current 2016-17 season with a concussion.

"Having gone through this I'd like to think I'm pretty aware with my body at this point," Crosby said. "I understand the importance of making sure you're good before you come back.

"I have a lot of belief in our staff here. They're going to do everything in their power to make sure I come back. I trust them. I trust the process you have to go through. Whenever it's time, I'll be ready."

Conor Sheary, who suffered a concussion in Game 3 as well, also returned to practice with the team. He engaged in full contact and worked with Nick Bonino and Brian Rust. His status for Game 5 is to be determined.

"If I string a couple good days together here we'll see what happens," Sheary said. "I'll be game-time tomorrow."

Sheary was injured when teammate Hornqvist accidentally collided with him while trying to check Washington's Lars Eller, who moved at the last second.

"I feel better today. It was a weird injury and it's just a day-by-day thing," said Sheary, who skated every day since the injury on Monday. "It was nice I got to stay on the ice."

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