Marcus Kruger doesn't have a personal timeline or a date in mind he's targeting for his return. Right now, he said he's taking everything "day by day" as he recovers from his concussion.
Kruger still hasn't been cleared for contact, but has been skating on his own. It was a good sign Sunday that he participated in practice with his teammates for the first time since his symptoms returned after getting roughed up by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 26.
"I feel good," said Kruger, who still remains on injured reserve. "It's good to be back with the guys on the ice. It's been a while. But it felt good."
Kruger first suffered his concussion when Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland checked him in the head on Dec. 20. He missed one game, but returned against the Blue Jackets and endured some tough hits.
"I [took] two big hits in the first period," said Kruger, who also was elbowed in the head by Blue Jackets star Rick Nash. "Now, it's just focusing on trying to get better and try to be ready to play."
Coach Joel Quenneville said Kruger had a "not so good" day last Tuesday. But Kruger said he's improved since then.
"It was hard to do some off-ice stuff," Kruger said. "I didn't feel as good as I wanted to. So of course that was frustrating. The medical team has helped me a lot and I've done everything I can to be back as soon as possible. Today it was great to be back on the ice."
Kruger also didn't feel like he rushed back from his concussion by playing against the Blue Jackets.
"I felt good for that," Kruger said. "So not really. Of course, you don't want to miss this many games. I try to be patient. I know it's going to be better and better and I hope to be back to play some games."
Montador ready to play
Defenseman Steve Montador was activated from injured reserve Saturday and he declared that he's "100 percent" for Sunday's matchup with the Red Wings. Montador missed the last three games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
"It's even tough to miss practice," Montador said. "There was a week where I was just playing some games. It's just not as fun not to be around the guys."
Montador said shutting down for a week or so was best for him.
"There was a few games there where things weren't 100 percent," Montador said. "We were just playing through it and getting better, but just not as quickly as we had thought. Taking a few days like we did was just to ensure that instead of taking practices and what not off and delaying it longer, we just sort of nipped it in the butt."