The condition of Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is unclear heading into the season opener, coach Lindy Ruff said Monday.
Benn and forward Ales Hemsky, who each had hip surgery this offseason, did not practice Monday. Ruff was asked if either would be 100 percent for the game Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"That is the great mystery," Ruff told the Stars website. "I don't know quite where we are at. I don't know that they know where they are at. They are obviously getting better, but they are still missing practices. Part of this is to make sure that we don't have a setback. We are trying to do the right thing, and the right thing is they miss quite bit of practice time, and they miss quite a bit of game time."
Ruff said he expects Benn and Hemsky to practice Tuesday and Wednesday. The coach said they were experiencing soreness after playing in two of the final three preseason games, including Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Benn, who led the NHL in scoring last season, had surgery in late April on one hip and in May on the other. Hemsky had surgery in April.
"I think it is to be expected," Ruff said. "We knew we were going to be touch and go through the preseason and before the season started."