Penguins captain Sidney Crosby 'real close' to making season debut

Buffalo Sabres' Colin Miller (33) defends as Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) looks to pass during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

The Pittsburgh Penguins could be getting a much-needed boost to their lineup with captain Sidney Crosby inching closer to making his season debut.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said that Crosby is getting "real close" to playing but wouldn't confirm whether he would be able to play in the first game of the team's homestand on Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

"We'll see how he responds," Sullivan told reporters after practice Wednesday. "We'll listen to the medical staff and we'll make decisions accordingly. But we're really encouraged with his progress."

Crosby made his return to the ice for an optional morning skate on Oct. 9 but has been practicing in his normal spot in the lineup for the last few days. The wrist surgery, Crosby's second in a bout a year, was done to address an issue that has ailed him since 2014.

"The first time I ever injured, it was 7 years ago. (Ryan Reaves) got hold of me pretty good at home here after the Olympics," Crosby said. "It was something that I kind of had to manage since then, and was able to avoid having to do any surgeries or anything like that until last year.

"It was something I was always able to manage somehow in the summer, just being able to get rest. Then obviously during the year, it was something that would kind of come back and I would get through it. Then this year, it just wouldn’t come back over the summer."

Despite not having Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in the lineup, Pittsburgh is 3-1-2 to start the season.

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