James Neal Injury update
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had serious issues staying healthy so far in 2013-14. James Neal is among the players that has caught the worst of the injury bug, and has only played 3:59 for the Pens so far this year. The Pens are still beating up on the Metropolitan Division with an 11-4 record, but there’s no doubt that Pittsburgh is a better team with Neal out on the ice.
Evgeni Malkin in particular has struggled without his usual wing man.
Neal isn’t likely to return anytime soon for the Penguins though.
#Penguins Neal begins working out again. He’s still 3 wks away from playing. Expected to be skating in a week.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) October 29, 2013
While a three-week timetable is a lengthy one, Neal is still making progress in his recovery.
Bylsma suggests James Neal’s workout is about to be upgraded, but says he remains “week-to-week.”
— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) November 2, 2013
Could Neal return for the Penguins by the end of November? It’s beginning to appear likely. He hasn’t suffered any setbacks in his workouts, and has been skating recently. Pittsburgh has seemingly righted the ship over its last four contests. After dropping three consecutive games to the Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ve reeled off four straight wins and are back on track.
They’ll continue to cruise without Neal in the lineup, but this is a deeper and more dangerous team with him on the second line and scoring on the top power-play unit.