PITTSBURGH, March 6 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who has been out for three months with concussion-like symptoms and a neck injury, has been cleared for contact.
Crosby hasn't played since early December, shortly after he ended a nearly 11-month period in which a concussion had kept him out of games.
He was injured in January 2011 and didn't return to NHL play until Nov. 21 when he scored two goals and assisted on two others but he appeared in only seven more games -- getting 10 more assists but no goals -- before symptoms returned.
Crosby has been skating with the Penguins for about a month but it wasn't until Tuesday he said he could take the next step.
"I was cleared for contact," Crosby said. "We'll see how that goes. There is no real timetable but it's a good step. Hopefully, I can get some momentum and get out there soon."
Crosby, 24, started his NHL career with the Penguins in 2005. He won the Hart Trophy as league most valuable player in 2007 and he led the NHL in scoring. Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup with Crosby as captain in 2009 and he was the goal leader in 2010.
Pittsburgh is 39-21-7 for 83 points, which is second-most in the NHL Eastern Conference, this season.