Report: Sidney Crosby's return up in air

With the NHL playoffs set to begin next week, it's becoming apparent that the Pittsburgh Penguins will not have the services of superstar Sidney Crosby when their first-round series gets under way, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Sidelined since Jan. 5 with a concussion, the center has begun taking part in morning skates with the club over the past week. Despite the progess, Crosby has yet to be cleared for contact.

"We've said it before and continue to say, he has a couple more steps to go in his rehabilitation before he can even think about returning to play," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday. "I don't know how fast that's going to happen. I don't know if it's going to happen.

"There's no way to even make a timetable and considering that he has two more steps to go through, it would seem like anything in the immediate future is out of the question."

The two steps of rehabilitation Crosby still needs to complete are unknown.

The Penguins open the playoffs Wednesday or Thurday.