James Neal injury: Penguins forward out indefinitely

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

James Neal will miss an indefinite period of time due to an upper-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, head coach Dan Bylsma announced on Friday afternoon.

Bylsma stated that the injury will be monitored on a week-to-week basis but did not elaborate beyond that. Neal is believed to have sustained the injury during practice on Monday and was able to play in the team's home opener on Thursday night. However, he left the game in the first period because of the unidentified issue and was unable to finish the contest.

There is no timetable on a return and Neal was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Neal has established a role on the second forward line with superstar Evgeni Malkin. Beau Bennett replaced Neal alongside Malkin and Jussi Jokinen. While filling the spot is important, it's paramount that Malkin is properly supported. With that in mind, Bylsma stated that the center could be moved throughout the lineup and could play shifts with captain Sidney Crosby.

The injury is an unfortunate turn of events, as Neal has proven to be a consistent producer. In two complete seasons with Pittsburgh, Neal has recorded the most goals of any player on the roster (61) and has amassed the second-most points (117) behind only Malkin (143).

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