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Sidney Crosby practices at ‘100 percent pace’ on first day of camp

Sep 17, 2011, 3:16 PM EDT

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Sidney Crosby AP

Although he hasn’t been cleared for contact during practice yet, Sidney Crosby “exerted himself at a 100 percent pace” during the first day of Pittsburgh Penguins training camp Saturday.

Crosby drew a standing ovation from fans gathered at practice as he wore a white helmet that indicated no contact (which is a lot like NFL players who wear special jerseys to make that much clear in their own practices). The best part for Crosby and the Penguins was that he claimed that he didn’t feel any “ill effects” from working hard in practice. Alan Robinson reports that he practiced for about 70 minutes today.

It’s probably safe to measure his progress in baby steps, although Crosby noted that this is the first time he worked at a 100 percent rate since he resumed workouts during the off-season. The star center still might have a long way to go before he can start preparing for NHL regular season action, but his first day of camp seems like a source of optimism.

“That was a really good pace — it was tough but fun to feel it again,” Crosby said. “I worked as hard as I possibly could out there. For that period of time, that’s the longest I’ve went at that pace. It felt good.”

Unless the symptoms return — and Crosby said they have largely vanished the last few weeks — he plans to practice every day at this same pace until he is cleared for contact. The Penguins have offered no hint when that might be.

We’ll keep an eye on Crosby’s progress, even if it takes a while before he returns to meaningful games.

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