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Conor Sheary of Penguins out 4-6 weeks

Forward sidelined with upper-body injury, was playing on top line with Sidney Crosby

NHL.com @NHL

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary will miss 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury.

Sheary, who plays left wing on the top line with Sidney Crosby, did not practice Wednesday after having one assist in 16:52 in a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday. He has 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 42 games this season, his second in the NHL.

Playing with Crosby and forward Bryan Rust, Sheary recently flourished with six goals and nine points in four games from Jan. 16-22. He had one assist in his next three games, including Tuesday, when Patric Hornqvist replaced Rust as Crosby's right wing.

"[Sheary's] having a real good year, so that's a tough one for us," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's been a real good player for us, but once again, our depth will be tested and we've got guys that can step up."

FANTASY IMPACT: Plenty of replacement options for injured Sheary

Forward Evgeni Malkin missed his second game because of a lower-body injury Tuesday and will likely miss a third when the Penguins play the Columbus Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, ROOT, FS-O, NHL.TV). A foot injury has sidelined fourth-line center Matt Cullen for six games.

Video: Penguins Forward Conor Sheary Injury Update

Malkin, who missed the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend with his lower-body injury, skated with Penguins skills coach Ty Hennes before practice Wednesday. Malkin is second on Pittsburgh, behind Crosby, with 22 goals and 54 points in 47 games.

"[Malkin is] progressing. He's not to the point yet where he'll join the team," Sullivan said. "We'll see how he responds to today, but the plan will be he'll skate again tomorrow barring any setbacks, and we'll go from there. But obviously, the fact that he's on the ice is progress."

With Malkin and Cullen out, forward Carter Rowney was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Monday and made his NHL debut centering the third line between Carl Hagelin and Rust against Nashville. He played in place of forward Tom Kuhnhackl, who was a healthy scratch.

Kuhnhackl would likely return to the lineup if Cullen is unable to play Friday.

Sullivan admitted Sheary's absence could create a sizable void. He also said he thinks Pittsburgh has proven it has the necessary depth to survive noteworthy injuries throughout the past two seasons.

"We know we have guys that can fill different roles," Sullivan said, "and that's been one of the strengths of this team. It will continue to be a strength."

Cullen returning could provide some stability even without Sheary. Cullen, who returned to full practice Wednesday, could play in one of Pittsburgh's next two games, Sullivan said.

Video: PIT@DET: Cullen credited with goal off skate for PPG

"The weekend is in play," Sullivan said. "It's a big step that he joined practice. He felt pretty good. We'll see how he progresses and how he responds to today. He'll practice with us tomorrow and then we'll make decisions from there."

Cullen was expected to miss 3-4 weeks after injuring his foot against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 16.

"It's feeling good," Cullen said. "I'm happy with how it's progressing. Probably a little ahead of schedule. We'll see how the week goes here. … I'm pretty pleasantly surprised with how it's come along here and how it feels in the skate."

Forwards Phil Kessel, Malkin and Crosby did not practice. Crosby was given a day off and Kessel had a maintenance day.

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