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Crosby Takes Next Step: Full Contact

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby announced Thursday that he is “cleared for full contact,” the next step in his road to recovery from a concussion he suffered in early January.

“I’m cleared for full contact. It’s a good step in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes for the next little bit.”

Crosby, who discarded his white “no contact” helmet for black headgear, has only been cleared to receive contact in practice. So he must first receive contact from his teammates during practices and see how he reacts before even considering playing a game.

“It’s pretty tough right now, we play every second day and back-to-back games. There aren’t a lot of practices with contact per se,” Crosby said. “I’ve got to get hit at some point during practice, but we’re playing so much that it’s pretty tough to get that in right now.”

Crosby, who added that he hasn’t had any concussion-like symptoms since training camp, met with his doctors and all parties agreed that it was time for him to take the next step of having contact in practice.

“Doing light stuff and feeling pretty good and the way I responded over the last few weeks to everything else, it was a good sign,” Crosby said. “We discussed things and decided to go to the next step here and go full contact.”

Now that he has been cleared, it’s up to Crosby’s teammates to step up and start hitting him.

“When a guy comes back from injury you’re usually a little hesitant. That’s pretty normal,” Crosby said. “I might have to do something to get them to hit me. Maybe I’ll have to bump them a little bit and get them going. As close to a game situation as we can get it.”

Crosby will monitor his health day-by-day and will have a dialogue with his doctors before making a decision to get back into game action.

“It’s up to how I respond to getting hit,” he said. “I guess it’s up to me, but we have to see when we get to that point.”

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