Pens star Neal injured playing wiffle ball?

Pittsburgh Penguins' James Neal skates past hats on the ice after scoring his third goal of the...

Pittsburgh Penguins' James Neal skates past hats on the ice after scoring his third goal of the game against the Ottawa Senators May 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Jason Cohn)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:10 PM ET

There appears to be an intriguing story behind James Neal's ambiguous injury.

Neal, who has played only one period of hockey this season, allegedly hurt himself participating in an on-ice wiffle ball game, according to a report from 970 ESPN Pittsburgh.

The 26-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins star left the team's season opener last Thursday with what coach Dan Bylsma called an upper body injury. Bylsma said the high-scoring forward would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis after aggravating an old ailment.

Neal, who ESPN said has an injury "similar to a strained oblique," was playing wiffle ball as part of a Penguins video tribute to the Pirates. The baseball team had made the MLB post-season for the first time in two decades.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, meanwhile, reported Penguins GM Ray Shero said the wiffle ball story is "Not accurate, 100% not true."

The Whitby, Ont., native posted 36 points in 40 games last season. In his last full season, 2011-12, Neal recorded 40 goals and 81 points.


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