Nino Niederreiter figured his recovery from a forearm to the head eight days ago would have been much slower.

"I had a little memory loss, and it was a pretty heavy hit," Niederreiter said Saturday morning after skating for a second straight day after five days off the ice because of the concussion he suffered on a hit from Stars defenseman Mark Fistric. "I expected it to be a little worse than it has, to be honest. I feel very good right now."

Fistric got a three-game suspension for the hit, which has left Niederreiter out of the last three games. But the 19-year-old rookie, who scored his first goal of the season the night before he was injured, could return to action at some point this week.

Niederreiter, who already spent two weeks in Bridgeport on a conditioning stint after missing the first month of the season with a groin injury, conceivably could go back to the AHL on another conditioning stint.

Because he is a teenager, conditioning stints are the only way he is allowed to play in the AHL. But given Niederreiter's spotty play in his six games and the Isles' lack of interest in sending him back to Portland of the Western League, another conditioning stint might be a possibility.


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Nabokov close

Evgeni Nabokov (groin) did not skate Saturday, but Jack Capuano said the goaltender might come off injured reserve this week. Nabokov has been out since Nov. 17. Kevin Poulin backed up Al Montoya for a third straight game . . . D Andrew MacDonald (leg) and G Rick DiPietro (groin) remained off the ice . . . F Jay Pandolfo (broken foot) said he still has at least another two weeks in a cast.