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Injury Update: Sidney Crosby To Play Against Panthers?

The Florida Panthers are taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins this Saturday night at home, and one would think the big story about this matchup would be the Panthers' hot start. After remaking their team this past offseason, the Panthers are sitting tied for first in the Southeast Division, and their 21 points only puts them four behind the Penguins for best in the Eastern Conference.

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But nope, the Penguins are stealing the show with this juicy rumor:

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Reports have indicated that [Sidney] Crosby's much-anticipated return could come Saturday against Florida at BankAtlantic Center. (George Richards, Miami Herald)

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Crosby has been out since last January after suffering two concussions, and the hockey world has been waiting for his return with baited breath. There have been status updates for him before every game this season and constant rumors, so it's possible this rumor is no different than the rest -- hopeful, but unrealistic optimism.

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Damian Cristodero from the Tampa Bay Times seems to think that the Penguins will wait and have Crosby make his return at home, so take this rumor with a healthy dose of skepticism. We already know that Crosby is definitely out against the Lightning tonight (Thursday), so I'm not sure what another two days will do at this point.

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And yet...it doesn't hurt to hope, does it? The Panthers would have an easier time against the Penguins without Crosby, but at the same time, how can you root against a player recovering from an injury? Hockey is better off with Crosby playing, so here's hoping that he's well enough to get back on the ice soon.

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.