As Jason Spezza held court in front of his locker stall Sunday, wearing an ear-to-ear grin after his first practice with his Ottawa Senators teammates in 15 weeks, he was trying his best to curb lofty expectations.

Spezza is making no promises about when — or even if — he’ll return to the lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

Still, after feasting on a daily diet of frustration for so long, he acknowledges it’s “a small victory” to have recovered enough from his back disc surgery to take part in a full team workout.

Spezza says there’s no set timetable for a return to game action and it remains undecided whether he’ll even travel with the team to Pittsburgh for the start of the second round. He has been back skating for the past two weeks, including several days with the team’s reserve players.

“I want to play, I want to back out there,” he said. “I don’t want to have any pain. I wish I could the play the next game. It’s all going to be about how I respond. I’ve got to push myself. That’s why we’re really going to try and push forward in the next three days. It might tell me that it’s not time to play and it might respond real well, but I would be lying if I tried to give you a straight answer (on a return date).”

The club’s No. 1 centre, who finished fourth in NHL scoring last season with 34 goals and 50 assists in 80 games, acknowledges he may not be 100 per cent recovered if he jumps aboard the Senators’ playoff train. Yet, considering the Penguins are loaded with the offensive talent, including Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, James Neal, Brenden Morrow and Kris Letang, it would be a huge bonus for the Senators to have more offensive touch in their lineup.