Penguins goalie Matt Murray (lower-body injury) returns to practice

CHICAGO -- Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is nearing a return from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him since mid-November.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner practiced with his teammates on Tuesday for the first time since going on injured reserve last month. The 24-year-old has struggled this season when able to play. He is 4-5-1 with a 4.08 goals-against average in 11 appearances but declined to use the injury as an excuse for his shaky performance.

"I was playing with it for a few weeks and it was fine," Murray said. "I just tweaked it one day. It didn't hinder many parts of my game. It's a specific place. Just giving it time to heal is the biggest thing."

Murray said he's uncertain when he'll be cleared to play. The Penguins play in Chicago on Wednesday night, then return home on Friday to face Boston.

Casey DeSmith has played well in place of Murray. DeSmith is 9-4-4 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have recovered from a poor start and are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.