Sidney Crosby has been cleared for practice and will join his teammates on their trip to Florida, according to the Pittsburgh Penguins website.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero, however, said Wednesday that Crosby, who has been sidelined for almost three months, will be limited to morning skates.
“It’s a natural return for his progression here,” Shero said. “His rehab has been ongoing. He’s doing well with it, but at the same time, as a manager, I have no expectations of him coming back and playing in the regular season, that’s not going to happen.
“In terms of playing in the playoffs for us, that’s something that’s still two or three weeks away. I don’t want to take any hope away from the players, but to return to game action for the Stanley Cup playoffs takes a certain type of fitness and game-ready. He is certainly not close to that at this point.”
Crosby has been out of the lineup since Jan. 5 because of the lingering effects of a concussion, missing 36 games.
There is no timetable for the superstar’s return to action.
“There’s no strategic plan from myself and (coach) Dan Bylsma to reintroduce him in our lineup at any certain day or time,” Shero said. “This is a complex injury. I think we all know that. I think we’re happy as to where he is in terms of getting back on the ice.”
Shero did confirm Crosby will be on the ice for the team’s Thursday morning skate.
“This is just one more step,” Bylsma said of Crosby getting to skate with his teammates again. “It will be good for his mind frame.”
Crosby had 32 goals and 34 assists for 66 points in 41 games before his injury. The Penguins have gone 19-12-5 since his exit from the lineup and have clinched a playoff spot. The team sat fourth in the Eastern Conference heading into Wednesday’s games.