"I wish it was up to me," he said of returning. "If that was the case, I would have been playing a month ago."
In the last 15 games without him, the Flyers are 6-6-3.
Saturday's 1 p.m. game will match Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Claude Giroux. Entering Friday, Malkin led the NHL with 69 points - two more than the Flyers' Giroux.
Hulking defenseman Nick Grossman, acquired Thursday from Dallas, practiced with the Flyers on Friday for the first time and was paired with Andrej Meszaros.
"He's a defenseman we need right now - with big size," said Meszaros, adding it may take Grossman a game or two to learn a new system.
Grossman, 27, said the deal "came out of the blue kind of, so it's a little shocking. I had mixed feelings at first, but once I got settled down it got real exciting."
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Grossman is expected to give opponents second thoughts about setting up camp in front of the net or skating through the slot.
"I try to use my body out there, being physical and hard to play against . . . bring some toughness," he said.
To make room for Grossman on the roster, Erik Gustafsson was sent back to the Phantoms - one day after scoring his first NHL goal.
Surgery for Sestito
Winger Tom Sestito will have surgery Tuesday to repair a torn groin muscle, the Flyers announced. Sestito was injured in a fight with Buffalo's Zack Kassian, and he is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Twenty-three military personnel from the Maguire-Dix-Lakehurst base visited the Flyers in their locker room after practice. The visitors represented the Army, Air Force, and Marines.
James Lazier, 42, an Army sergeant from Trenton, handed Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov an inflatable globe he called "the universe" and had him autograph it. (Bryzgalov is kiddingly called "Universe" by some teammates for his funny comments about it on HBO's 24/7.)
"I like Bryz. He's a character," Lazier said. "I told him this [globe] will help him forget the bigger problems in the world."
Flyers Wives Carnival
The Flyers Wives Carnival, celebrating its 35th year, will be held Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center at noon. It is the largest fund-raiser of the year for Comcast-Spectacor Charities.
Fans can meet and take pictures with Flyers players, play interactive activities, and take pictures with the Stanley Cup and Flyers alumni.
Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-298-4200, online at ComcastTIX.com, or at the Wells Fargo Center box office.
Jaromir Jagr (flu) and Meszaros (upper-body injury) practiced Friday and will play on Saturday. Danny Briere, who has an apparent shoulder injury, wore a non-contact jersey at practice and may not play Saturday. . . . The Flyers are 2-0 against the Penguins this season, with Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky each notching a win. . . . In shootouts this season, the Penguins are 7-3, the Flyers are 1-5.
Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at email@example.com or @BroadStBull on Twitter.