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Penguins' Crosby not set on Friday return

No concussion symptoms, but also no change in the status of Penguins center Sidney Crosby.

If only there was no more speculation from within the hockey world about him playing against Dallas at Consol Energy Center on Friday night.

"I'd love it to be (Friday)," Crosby said of his anticipated return to games from a concussion that has kept him out of the lineup since Jan. 5. "But I would have loved it to be on the West Coast trip (last week), too — but I didn't play there. There are a lot of different guesses, but everybody else's guess is as good as mine."

Crosby did not rule out playing Friday, but neither did he even slightly hint at that being a realistic possibility.

He was cleared by team physician Dr. Charles Burke, an orthopedic surgeon, for resumption of full-contact practices Oct. 13.

Crosby accompanied the Penguins on their trip to San Jose last week, but left Friday night so he could visit with either Burke or Michael Collins, a clinical psychologist with extensive neuropsychology training who heads the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, or both.

Crosby has said he visits with members of his concussion team about once weekly, and he confirmed those persons as Burke and/or Collins. Burke clears all Penguins players for return to play, but that will be more procedural in the case of Crosby because of Collins' experience in treating concussion.

"I just tell them how I feel," he said of his visits with Burke and/or Collins. "That's usually how it goes -- give them feedback, let them know how I'm feeling. They usually have tests or ways of evaluating, so they used that too. But it's kind of a combination of what I'm telling them and their expert opinion."

Coach Dan Bylsma said the Penguins are "not waiting on an epiphany to make a decision" on Crosby's return, stressing there remains "no timetable."

Contact remains elusive

During the session Monday, Crosby looked to just dodge a collision with fellow superstar center Evgeni Malkin, but Malkin suggested after practice the near-hit was an accident.

Malkin was just the latest teammates who seemed hesitant to practice physically with Crosby, the team captain and arguably the NHL's most recognized player. Defenseman Deryk Engelland's shove of Crosby last week caused a stir among the media members who watched practice.

"There are certain players that are more apt to be in physical contact with Sid, and yes ... I have put people against him that will be inclined to bump him," Bylsma said, noting that injured defenseman Ben Lovejoy has filled that role in the past.

Around the boards

Center Jordan Staal and defensemen Zbynek Michalek (broken finger) and Lovejoy (broken wrist) did not practice. Staal, who has battled a lower-body injury, was given a day off for rest. ... Bylsma suggested he was leaning towards using Chris Kunitz and James Neal as Crosby's wingers when Crosby resumes playing games. Steve Sullivan and Tyler Kennedy would play with Malkin. ... The Penguins are off today.

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