Zajac practicing with Devils

Injured forward Travis Zajac took another step toward returning from a lingering Achilles injury when he practiced with the Devils Friday morning.

The 26-year-old center missed four months after sustaining the injury during an offseason workout in August and, following his season debut in December, was sidelined again after only eight games.

Zajac, who skated as an extra forward with Eric Boulton, has not played since January 2. He told reporters Thursday that he came back too soon, but did not re-injure his Achilles tendon. He has since been cleared for contact and said he plans to play before the regular season ends.

"It's nice to just get in game situations," Zajac said of his first full practice. "You have to be able to think and move with the puck, which is the biggest difference, and I felt pretty good."

Zajac has no timetable yet, but will continue to work on improving his conditioning and timing.

"Mentally, it's starting to feel good," he said. "It's been a long layoff. [I'm] just trying to combine everything and get as close to game-like speed and conditioning as possible."