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Pens’ Guentzel is on schedule

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star forward Jake Guentzel’s recovery from shoulder surgery is on schedule, opening the door for him to play at some point should the NHL return this season.

General manager Jim Rutherford said Wednesday that Guentzel has not endured any setbacks since undergoing surgery on Dec. 31 for the shoulder he injured while awkwardly slamming into the end boards shortly after scoring his 20th goal of the season against Ottawa on Dec. 30. The initial timetable for Guentzel’s potential return was 4 to 6 months. Rutherford indicated the 25-year-old Guentzel is near the front end of the timetable.

The NHL’s season remains on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s possible that Guentzel — who wouldn’t have been ready for the start of the playoffs under the normal schedule — could be available immediately if play doesn’t resume for another month or so.

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