The Pittsburgh Penguins returned from a weeklong midseason break missing four players from practice Sunday afternoon in Cranberry.
Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang had the day off because they represented the team at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose the night before.
Justin Schultz and Zach Aston-Reese skated with skills coach Ty Hennes before practice, but they are not yet ready to rejoin the group.
Schultz has been out since Oct. 13 with a broken left leg. Aston-Reese has been out since Jan. 8 with a hand injury.
Coach Mike Sullivan said he’s pleased with the progress they’re making, though he still considers both week to week rather than day to day.
“We don’t have any specific dates at this point in mind, but we do know they’re approaching joining the team here, which is encouraging,” Sullivan said.
Schultz’s return will give the Penguins nine healthy defensemen on the roster, which is a logjam that general manager Jim Rutherford will have to take some steps to alleviate.
Up front, the Penguins are operating with the minimum of 12 healthy forwards at the moment. Any further injuries will require a call-up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.