Sidney Crosby was back on the ice with his Penguins teammates on Tuesday for the first time, but he cautioned that is was only because of ice availability. Sure enough, Crosby skated by himself prior to practices on Wednesday and Thursday, but on Friday, Crosby was back in a major way.
#Pens practice is underway at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. All the healthy players are in attendance, plus Crosby in a gray no-contact jersey. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 3, 2020
About 30 minutes later we got this good news that Crosby’s involvement took even another step forward today:
Sidney Crosby has changed into a black full-contact jersey after starting the session in a gray no-contact jersey. -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 3, 2020
Crosby did not skate on a normal line and though not official it doesn’t look likely at all that he will play tomorrow night when the team is in Montreal. However, a return to a full-contact jersey is a clear sign that it won’t be long now. Another sign is Crosby ditched the “injury beard” he was growing ever since the process began in early November, if even more visual evidence was required that Sid is rounding back into form and shifting into a different stage and mindset.
It's a beautiful thing to see Sidney Crosby on the ice. pic.twitter.com/cId4iEAwk8— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 3, 2020
Crosby was deemed out “at least six weeks” from his surgery which was conducted seven weeks (and one day) ago from today, 1/3/2020. Typically if all goes well players don’t stay on the shelf very long from non-concussion like injuries once they regain their typical contact jersey.
The Pens will no doubt be pretty coy about a Crosby return, but as soon as Sunday at home could be on the table and makes sense before the team heads out west next week. We’ll see when the official word about just when he will be the inevitable “game time decision” that the team will use, but one thing is for sure — the time Crosby gets back into a game is getting closer and closer.
Update: Crosby isn’t cleared for contact and was again with the team due to scheduling. This process will continue!
Crosby said in order to officially join practice, "I have to be able to do contact. That's a big step. Once you're cleared for contact, you see how things respond from there. But I'm not ready for that yet." -MC— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) January 3, 2020