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Malkin practices with Penguins, not cleared to play

NHL.com @NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin skated at practice Thursday but is not cleared to play, coach Mike Johnston said.

Malkin did not play Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers because of an undisclosed injury and was declared day-to-day. Johnston said they found the injury when Malkin was evaluated Tuesday.

Malkin participated in the majority of drills at practice Thursday and the Penguins will see how he reacts. Johnston is hopeful Malkin can return this weekend when the Penguins play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday and the Flyers on Sunday, but that depends on what doctors have to say the next few days.

"With anything that's really nagging right now you want to be careful," Johnston said. "You just don't want to aggravate it so it spirals into something that could be a longer term"

Malkin missed six games with a lower-body injury sustained against the Boston Bruins on March 14. He returned against the Arizona Coyotes on March 28 and had two assists in a 3-2 win.

Forwards Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist, defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Ian Cole and Kris Letang, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury did not participate in practice, but Johnston said all of the "high-minute guys" were given the day off.

Pittsburgh (42-24-11) is tied with the New York Islanders for second place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Washington Capitals.

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