Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby looks on durng hockey practice Feb.… (Paul Chiasson / Associated…)
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, free of concussion symptoms for the first time in three months, was cautiously optimistic Tuesday that he will soon be able to rejoin the lineup.
Crosby, whose attempted comeback in November was cut short when he experienced headaches and discomfort while in motion, was cleared for contact and practiced with his teammates Tuesday at the Consol Energy Center.
He said the soonest he could return if all goes well is Sunday, a welcome jolt for the Penguins as they jostle for prime playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
“I just want to make sure that I take the right steps here and get back out there soon,” he told reporters in Pittsburgh.
His caution is understandable. After suffering a concussion last season he was out of the lineup for 10 months and returned in late November. He had 12 points in eight games before a recurrence of headaches forced him out of the lineup again. The 24-year-old also had a soft-tissue injury in his neck.
“I'm going to give myself days, for sure, of contact,” Crosby said. “If you look at our schedule, we have two more practices, I think, 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.”
The Penguins have done well during his absence but could become a playoff favorite if he can return and stay in the lineup. They’re riding a six-game winning streak and have 83 points, the second-highest total in the East.
The overriding factor, though, is that Crosby is healthy after so many dark moments.
“It's just one of those things where you get used to having things for so long you forget what normal is,” he said. “I feel like normal has been a lot more regularly.”
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