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Sidney Crosby to return Thursday vs New York Rangers

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that Sidney Crosby will return to the lineup for the next game, on Thursday, in New York against the Rangers. Crosby, who returned for 8 games in November/December 2011 missed the first 11+ months of that year with concussion symptoms after suffering a hit to the head in the Winter Classic from David Steckel and then getting boarded by Tampa's Victor Hedman a few days later.

Crosby made his triumphant return against the New York Islanders where he scored two goals, assisted on two more and looked very much the part of the 100% healthy player. However, he would not score another goal this season and eventually in a game on Dec 5th against Boston took a couple hard shots (one inadvertant from teammate Chris Kunitz, one from David Krejci when both were jostling for the puck) and that would be his last game.

Crosby was diagnosed in California with a possible neck soft tissue injury and received treatment for that and has seen balance issues go away. He reportedly was suffering from headaches up until a few weeks ago, but recently has been a regular skater at practice.

Crosby's latest return will be a shot in the arm for a team that has won nine straight games and is trying to make ground on the first place Rangers. With the playoffs starting in four weeks, the Pens could be major contenders if Crosby and defenseman Kris Letang (also suffering from his second concussion of the season) can be 100% and stay in the lineup.