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Sidney Crosby cleared for physical contact; return date not set

Sidney Crosby fatigue has more or less set in with most Penguins fans. The superstar center has been dealing with head/neck symptoms for the better part of 14 months now and other than a brief cameo in November has only been seen in practice montages during cutaways of games.

That could be changing, as Crosby declared today in a rare public speaking event with the media that he is now symptom free and has today been cleared for contact.

The big step is contact. Hopefully, I can do that for a few days and get back out there

We've heard for weeks and months now that the Penguins plan all along was to let Crosby rehab and hope that he could re-join them before the end of the regular season. Though Crosby has been pracitcing with the team in non-contact situations lately, he hasn't seemingly taken many steps back to the lineup in recent months. Today's declaration of health and the step up to contact shows that he is very serious about re-joining the Pens for game action as soon as possible.

Don't expect to see the captain back out there tomorrow night or anything, but any tangible step a player takes in the road back from concussions is a positive, and certainly the announcement Crosby is symptom free again (especially when really exerting himself to the max on skates every day) is definitely a positive for all.

Now we continue to sit, wait and watch what will happen. Add Sidney Crosby to a team that's won six straight game and has Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz up front and things could be special if all can stay in the lineup for a playoff run. Especially with the way Marc-Andre Fleury and the defense and grinders have been playing.