Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby was cleared for contact in practice Thursday, though it remains unclear when he will be given the go-ahead to play.
Article continues below ...
Crosby wore a standard black helmet in practice Thursday, signaling that he had cleared a major hurdle in his recovery from a concussion that has sidelined him for the past nine months. Crosby had been practicing with a white helmet for the past few weeks, meaning teammates could not hit him.
"Yeah, it’s full contact, so it’s a good step in the right direction," Crosby said after practice at CONSOL Energy Center. "It’s a big step … it’s a big one and we’ll see how things go."
Crosby conceded, though, that his teammates may be reluctant to deliver a hard hit in practice.
"Usually you’re a little hesitant, that’s normal … I might have to do something to get them to hit me, maybe," Crosby said. "Maybe have to bump them a little bit and get them going. (Make it as) close to a game situation as we can get it."
Coach Dan Bylsma declined to give a timetable for when Crosby will make his return to action, but sounded optimistic on where the 24-year-old has progressed to in his recovery.
"Going through training camp, (after) where he came from, was significant and helped with that process," Bylsma said. "He’s been with a line, he’s been in full drills, even in some drills that had contact although he had the non-contact helmet. It’s significantly different than coming back halfway through the season. That helps with the situation."
Crosby, who won the Hart Trophy in 2007 and led the Pens to the Stanley Cup in 2009, appeared well on his way to the NHL scoring title last season before going down, tallying 32 goals and 34 assists through 41 games.