PITTSBURGH (AP) -Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, out for more than two months with a high ankle sprain, was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on Sunday to begin a conditioning assignment.
Fleury, who tied for third in the NHL with 40 victories last season, was expected to be out six to eight weeks after injuring his ankle early in the first period of a 3-2 win in Calgary on Dec. 6. His recovery has taken longer than expected.
Penguins coach Michel Therrien estimated Fleury will need three to four games in the minors to get back into playing shape. He had a 9-8-1 record before getting hurt.
"Practice is nice, he is working really hard at it," coach Michel Therrien said. "He needs to play some games. We figure three or four games, depending on how he is able to perform."
Wilkes-Barre doesn't play again until Wednesday, then has four games in six days.
"I need to start somewhere," said Fleury, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL draft.
Pittsburgh is 19-7-3 since Fleury was hurt, with Ty Conklin going 14-3-3 as their primary starter after beginning the season in the minors.
The Penguins also reassigned forward Ryan Stone to Wilkes-Barre.