BOSTON (CBS) — The last time Sidney Crosby returned to the Penguins after a long hiatus, he torched the Islanders for two goals and a pair of assists in just 16 minutes of ice time. Might the Bruins be the recipient of a similar fate this Sunday?

They may, as Crosby was cleared for contact this week and could be ready to play his first game in three months by week’s end. The superstar 24-year-old told NBC’s Pierre McGuire that Sunday is his target date, according to USA Today’s Kevin Allen, but he said earlier in the day that he can’t yet make any guarantees.

“No sooner than Sunday, I would say, but I’m not going to sit here and put a date on it,” Crosby told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s nice to be symptom-free but it’s not as fulfilling until you get out there.”

Coincidentally, Crosby’s last game played was against the Bruins on Dec. 5. A routine collision with David Krejci in the neutral zone appeared to cause Crosby problems, and it was later determined that he was dealing with a soft tissue injury in his neck.

The health issues are now more than a year old for Crosby, who sustained head injuries last January, getting hit by David Steckel in the Winter Classic and Victor Hedman later in the week. He missed the rest of that season, playing only 41 games but still finishing tied for 30th in the NHL in points with 66. He missed the beginning of this season as well, returning in late November with that performance against the Islanders. In just eight games this season, he has two goals and 10 assists.


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