Penguins' James Neal returns for brief practice session

Coach Bylsma says it's a step toward recovery

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Penguins winger James Neal returned to practice with the team today at Southpointe. He practiced for only 18 minutes, but coach Dan Bylsma said that it represented a step in Neal's recovery from a concussion.

Neal has missed the past five games since he got hurt.

Neal joined three other injured players - Sidney Crosby (jaw), Paul Martin (hand) and Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) - for an on-ice workout before practice, then returned for the main session. Malkin has been practicing and also returned for the main session, but Bylsma said Malkin will not make the trip to Ottawa for a game Monday.

He and the other injured players are expected to skate in Pittsburgh Monday.

In addition, defenseman Kris Letang did not practice. Bylsma said Letang is ill. There are indications that Letang also will miss the game in Ottawa, although Bylsma did not confirm that.

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Shelly Anderson:, 412-263-1721 or Twitter @pgshelly


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