Report: Kessel may miss start of season due to hand surgery

Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The hand injury that Phil Kessel hid during the Pittsburgh Penguins' march to the Stanley Cup may keep him out of the lineup for the beginning of this season.

The Penguins aren't positive Kessel will be available early on, but it "will be close," according to Josh Yohe of DKPittsburghSports.com.

General manager Jim Rutherford reiterated that Kessel's recovery is going well, and that if he does miss time, it won't be much.

"At this point, based on where he’s tracking, yes (Kessel would be OK to start the season)," Rutherford said, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "But with surgery like that, you can’t say 100 percent for sure. Even if it’s not for the start of the season, it wouldn’t be that much time."

Kessel hasn't missed a regular season contest since 2009-10, and suited up for all 24 Penguins playoff games. He underwent surgery in July, after reportedly suffering the injury in the first round versus the New York Rangers.

In his first season with the Penguins, Kessel amassed an underwhelming 59 points in 82 games, but was a force in the playoffs, recording 10 goals and 12 assists as Pittsburgh claimed the Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh begins its preseason Sept. 27, while their regular campaign kicks off Oct. 13 versus the Washington Capitals.

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Report: Kessel may miss start of season due to hand surgery
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