March 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (second from right) receives congratulations from teammates center Sidney Crosby (87) and defenseman Kris Letang (58) and left wing James Neal (18) after Kunitz scored his second goal of the game against the New York Islanders during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pens Injury Report 3/17: Bennett, Kunitz, Letang, Neal Practice

 

Injured Pittsburgh Penguins’ players Beau Bennett, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, and James Neal all reportedly practiced Monday – according to the Pens’ Twitter handle.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day indeed.

Bennett, whose been out since Nov. 22 with a hand/wrist ailment, is inching closer to returning to game-action. Stating he’d be a go in roughly 10 days back on Mar. 9 – per Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Bennett’s estimation will put him around Thursday’s matchup in Detroit, but I’m anticipating him returning Saturday, due to it being a home game.

By far the biggest surprise was Letang’s participation.

Suffering a stroke back on Jan. 29, Letang was given a timetable of at least six weeks to recover, and then was due to be re-evaluated after that duration. Sunday, he was cleared by doctors to practice in full, and today he did.

There still remains an indefinite timetable for his return, however, just hearing he was able to skate and do drills is alleviating.

Kunitz and Neal, who have both been sidelined since last Tuesday’s tilt against Washington, are vital to the Pens’ offense, and seeing them practicing is also relieving.

Kunitz missed this weekend’s two-game series with Philadelphia due to a lower-body injury that was caused by a grueling crash into the goalpost on Mar. 11. Nearly identical to how Lightning’ forward Steven Stamkos injured himself, Kunitz, fortunately, was able to perform the rest of the game, however, was sore enough to be held out this past weekend.

I’m expecting him to be back tomorrow for the Pens’ home matchup with Dallas, but on the other hand, you want to make certain he’s 100-percent.

Neal sustained a concussion on Mar. 11, and he’s, obviously, more of a surprise than Kunitz’s participation, due to the severity of his condition. Listed as indefinitely sidelined, Neal, in my opinion, may have a little while longer to heal, however, who knows how agonizing his concussion ultimately is. For all we know, he could very well be re-inserted tomorrow.

And according to Neal, if he feels as-good-as he did today, that’s exactly what will happen – per the Pens’ Twitter handle.

Also to note, goaltender Tomas Vokoun practiced Monday as well.

Tuesday’s game can be seen on the ROOT Network, and is set to start at 7 p.m.

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