Staal had surgery on a broken right hand seven weeks ago, and was told he would be out six weeks. He still hasn't been cleared to practice, although the Penguins deny that X-rays revealed an additional break.
One of the NHL's best two-way forwards, Staal hasn't played this season due to a right foot infection and the broken hand. He did not miss a regular-season game to injury during his first four seasons.
Staal was struck on the hand by a puck Nov. 1, two days before he was to resume playing. He spent the offseason recovering from infections that developed after his foot was sliced by a skate blade during the playoffs last spring.