Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will join teammates on the ice in skating sessions, but has not been cleared for full practice sessions, it was announced Wednesday.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero said Crosby hasn't been cleared for contact drills and there's no expectation he'll play any of the team's remaining five regular season games. He will be able to take part in morning game day skates.
Shero's announcement was made through the team's Twitter feed after the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported earlier in the day on Crosby's progress.
Crosby was seen skating on his own in public for the first time March 14 and has continued with regular individual sessions.
The Cole Harbour, N.S., native has been out of the lineup for 36 games after getting hit in the head in successive games.
Crosby was hit by then Washington forward Dave Steckel and Tampa Bay defenceman Victor Hedman in those incidents. Steckel collided with Crosby while the Penguins star was turned, while Hedman drove him into the glass with a check.
Crosby had been on pace for the best offensive showing of his career, leading the NHL at the time with 32 goals and 34 assists.
The 23-year-old has expressed frustration with the recovery process, but said he would stay out as long as medically necessary.
The Penguins have managed to overcome the absences of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and others to sit just four points back of the Eastern Conference lead with five regular-season games remaining.
Crosby's injury has been at the forefront as the NHL grapples with the issue of head shots in the game, a process that started last year after serious injuries to Marc Savard and David Booth.