Big step for Crosby, cleared for "no contact" practice

(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been cleared to practice with his team in training camp starting on Saturday, though no date has been set for his return to competition from concussion.

"I'm cleared to practice without contact," Crosby, who is one of the NHL's biggest draw cards, told the team's website on Friday. "That's good news for me. I'm excited to get going.

"Whatever symptoms I've had have been pretty minimal. To be able to get cleared to do this is good."

Last week, Crosby and his medical team said he was still some way from returning to league action despite making progress in his recovery from concussion. The Penguins are scheduled to open their NHL season on October 6.

His medical advisers said last week they had to be 100 percent sure that he was recovered before giving him the green light to return to the NHL.

"I think camp will be a pretty good indication," said Crosby. "It's going to be pretty intense. Even without contact, I'm sure it's going to be a pretty good pace.

"I'll see how things go then. At this point, I'm just kind of worried about this step and just getting through it."

Since joining the Penguins for the 2005-06 season Crosby has been a points-producing machine, recording 572 points in 412 regular season games. He has won a Stanley Cup and been named the league's most valuable player.

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)