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Crosby skates with teammates, return not imminent

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By Josh Yohe
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

MONTREAL — How significant it was remains to be seen, but center Sidney Crosby hit the ice with his teammates during practice Monday in Montreal.

That Crosby skated with teammates can only be viewed as positive, but he cautioned that his return to the lineup isn't imminent.

"I'm not symptom-free," Crosby said. "As soon as I am, I'll be out there. That's where I want to be."

Crosby sounds at peace with his current medical condition, something that hasn't always been the case. It has recently been introduced through multiple physicians that a neck problem, most notably a soft tissue injury, could be the culprit for much of his concussion-like symptoms.

"It's nice to go in and not be guessing," Crosby said of the injury's rehabilitation. "You go in and get your neck worked on and do whatever. That's much better than sitting around and waiting for symptoms to go away, or hoping they do. Even if the progress isn't as quick, it's still nice."

This is only the second time Crosby has gone through a full practice since leaving the lineup in December. He skated with the Penguins Jan. 14 in Tampa.

"I feel like this week's been good," Crosby said. "I feel like I'm getting there."

Crosby does not plan on skating with the team following the road trip, instead saying he will resume skating by himself when the Penguins return home.

Coach Dan Bylsma made light of the situation, expressing simply that Crosby was getting tired of skating sessions by himself.

"He just would have been lonely by himself," Bylsma said. "So he was on the ice with us."

Welcome back

Center Jordan Staal and defenseman Simon Despres, who have both missed approximately a month with MCL injuries, practiced with the Penguins on Monday.

Coach Dan Bylsma said both players are "five-to-10 days" from returning to the lineup. It remains unknown if Despres will stay with the Penguins or return to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"The knee feels good," Staal said. "It's the next step, and we'll see how it goes from here."

Staal has been out since Jan. 7, while Despres' injury took place Jan. 10.

Kennedy out

Right wing Tyler Kennedy, who sustained a knee or leg injury with 2:21 remaining in the third period Sunday in New Jersey following a collision with Devils forward Alexei Ponikarovsky, will not play Tuesday night in Montreal.

Kennedy has returned to Pittsburgh for further examination. He was seen limping noticeably following Sunday's game.

Ice cream, anyone?

Goaltender John Gibson, a Whitehall native and Anaheim's 2011 second-round draft pick, will be out indefinitely after having surgery on his tonsils Wednesday. He plays for the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League.

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