A step in the right direction: Sidney Crosby cleared to begin off-ice workouts

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People who thought the 2011 playoffs would go buzz-free in Sidney Crosby’s absence have been regularly proven wrong, with the outstanding ratings from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals being the most recent rebuttal. That being said, it would still be disturbing if the Pittsburgh Penguins star’s concussions symptoms force him to miss a big chunk of the 2011-12 season.

While a full-fledged return in time for training camp is still very much in question, Crosby took a promising next step in his recovery process. The Associated Press reports that Crosby has been cleared for off-ice workouts as part of his summer regimen.

It’s been an up-and-down road for Crosby since he played his last game against the Tampa Bay Lighnting on January 5. There were some hopes that he might have been able to make an appearance in the 2011 playoffs, but another wave of concussion symptoms washed those dreams away.

The AP report expands a bit on his next steps.

Crosby will work out with a personal trainer for the next 2-3 weeks in Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, according to Penguins general manager Ray Shero, and will be monitored by Dr. Michael Collins of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

“Everything will be closely managed by Dr. Collins,” Shero said, “in terms of his progression leading up to him getting on the ice later in the summer per his usual routine.”

There’s still a long way to go before training camp begins in September, so we’ll keep you informed about his rehab process from often-unpredictable concussion symptoms.