Oct 25, 7:26 PM EDT

Penguins' star Crosby returns against Panthers

Special Section
Complete Hockey Coverage
NHL News
Benoit Pouliot scores twice, Oilers top Capitals 4-1

Silfverberg's 2 goals lead Ducks over Predators 6-1

Brandon Pirri scores twice, Rangers rally to beat Bruins 5-2

Weber gives Canadiens 5th straight win, 3-2 over Islanders

Backup plan: The case to play goalies on consecutive nights

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby made his season debut Tuesday against the Florida Panthers after missing six games with a concussion.

The two-time MVP and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner hasn't played since sustaining a concussion in practice earlier this month. Crosby participated in a full-contact practice Monday for the first time since suffering his third concussion in six years. He called his participation in practice a major milestone in his recovery.

"Ultimately to get to that step yesterday of having contact, you have to be symptom-free and that's been the case," Crosby said.

Crosby described himself Tuesday morning as a game-time decision, but coach Mike Sullivan said the Penguins' captain would likely make his season debut barring a setback after participating in the game-day skate.

Crosby, who captained Team Canada to a World Cup of Hockey championship last month, missed the better part of two seasons after sustaining a concussion in January 2011. He stressed he didn't panic when doctors told him of the latest diagnosis.

"Guys have had them before and it's been a long time since I've had to deal with that myself," he said. "It's not something you want to hear. It's something you want to treat the right way."

The Penguins, meanwhile went 3-2-1 with Crosby out of the lineup.

Defenseman Kris Letang skated with the team on Tuesday, but wore a non-contact jersey and missed his third straight game with an undisclosed injury.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.