PITTSBURGH -- Exactly two weeks into what was projected to be a 2-4 week recovery time, Matt Niskanen is closer to returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. It won't be Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, though.
Niskanen joined more than a dozen teammates for an optional morning skate at Consol Energy Center Sunday but remains on injured reserve due to an ankle injury sustained 14 days ago.
"It is feeling better, and I'm able to do more and more things on the ice every day," Niskanen said. "I'd like to think I'm close -- but we'll just have to wait and see how I progress. I've got a few more steps to take."
Coach Dan Bylsma said Niskanen "is progressing, and we'll see how he continues to go." Niskanen has been skating on his own with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar over the past week.
"It feels good to be out with the team again," said Niskanen, who had a goal and two assists in five games this season. "Mike Kadar does a good job -- but that gets old pretty quick."
Niskanen, who signed a two-year contract extension with Pittsburgh this past summer, opened the season with Kris Letang as his partner on the Penguins' top pairing. Letang will miss his third game due to a lower-body injury Sunday.