Crosby eyes comeback after clearance

Crosby eyes comeback after clearance
By Reuters

07/03/2012 at 03:11Updated 07/03/2012 at 03:30

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact and is inching closer to a return but no timetable has been set for him to rejoin the lineup.

Crosby, sidelined by concussion-like symptoms for most of the past 14 months, told reporters after practicing with team mates on Tuesday that he hoped to play soon.

"There is no real timetable but it's a good step," Crosby said in a report on the team's website. "I've been through this before. 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, 24, was cleared to resume contact after showing no symptoms of his concussion problems for several days but wants to try and get through more contact drills. He was hopeful his return would be quick, possibly as early as next 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," said Crosby. "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."

The Canadian suffered the initial injury after taking hits to the head in successive games in early 2011. He missed the second half of that season and the first 20 games of the current campaign before making stirring return in November.

Crosby had 12 points in eight games but began experiencing concussion-like symptoms in early December. He has not played since Dec. 5 and was subsequently diagnosed with a soft-tissue neck injury that experts said could have been responsible for causing neurological symptoms similar to those of a concussion.

The National Hockey League's biggest draw card, Crosby has won the league's scoring title, most valuable player award, a Stanley Cup and scored the overtime goal for Canada in the gold medal game at the 2010 Olympics.

The Penguins (39-21-5) are in fourth place in the 15-team Eastern Conference with 17 games left in the regular season.