Pittsburgh Penguins: Defenseman Sergei Gonchar Ready To Go

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IFebruary 11, 2009

News out of the Penguins locker room is that defensman Sergei Gonchar has been cleared by the medical staff to return to the ice.

The power-play quarterback has been out since the preseason with a shoulder injury, courtesy of a hit from Tampa Bay Lighting forward David Koci.

Gonchar will not dress for Wednesday night's game against the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.

He has been participating in contact drills during practice for over a week now since he traded the red jersey for the normal gray.

"It's going to be day-by-day, it depends how I feel." said Gonchar earlier today, about his return.

He has also stated that he would like to get in better shape before returning to the ice, although even when he does return, nobody is sure how well he will be able to play.

The desire would be there to throw him right into the fire, as the Penguins have struggled recently and are still in tenth place in the Eastern Conference. But Gonchar does not expect to play his normal 20 or more minutes per game.

Gonchar could join the Penguins for their upcoming road trip to Toronto and Long Island, but he may not play until Monday against the Islanders.