BOSTON, MA - Like many of his Bruins teammates right now, Chris Kelly is on the mend. The alternate captain continues to recover from his broken right fibula suffered on December 7 that has caused him to miss more than 10 games.
And, as of now, he's on track in his rehab, with no setbacks.
"Yeah, everything's on track," Kelly confirmed on Wednesday, speaking with reporters in the locker room for the first time since he sustained the injury.
"Obviously it's one of those injuries you have to be careful with; you don't want to push it too much, because it can set you back. So [the staff has] been really good at doing what's best for me."
The injury occurred just before the Bruins' road trip through Canada. It had happened from a slash in the second period against Pittsburgh at TD Garden. Kelly played the entire game in the Bruins' 3-2 comeback win that night.
At first wearing a boot, Kelly remained around the rink, working out and staying in shape. Now, he's getting closer to hitting the ice again.
"I've been on the bike with both legs and I'm hoping to skate fairly soon and be back as soon as I can," said the centerman.
Kelly is about three and a half weeks into his recovery. As for the timetable, it was originally projected at about four to six weeks, but he's not shooting for a specific date. He's just taking it day by day.
"I try not to use timetables," he said. "As players and anyone, they always go by those timetables, and everyone's different, sometimes you can get back quicker and sometimes it takes longer."
"But everything's going as planned and every day I get a little bit better, and that' the most important thing I think - if you have setbacks, it's frustrating, where if you can come in and do a little bit more each day, it's always a positive thing."
This marks the second injury of 2013 that has kept Kelly out of the lineup for about at least a month. Back on March 11, he broke his left tibia (shinbone), before making his return on April 8.
Before these two fairly lengthy injuries, the centerman - in his ninth full NHL season - had only experienced a seven-game stretch that he missed back in 2007-08 due to a blocked shot.
Upon returning from the broken tibia last season, it took Kelly time to find his stride again.
"I think you don’t realize it until later on how poorly you were feeling," he had said, prior to the start of this season, reflecting back on his injury in the spring.
"I started feeling a lot better in the Conference Finals and even more so in the Finals, just skating and really thinking not about the injury as much. The offseason was great, I never had any setbacks, it felt great, everything I did. And in the preseason I feel like my feet [were] moving a lot better than they were."
When Kelly does come back from his injury, it will likely take time to get in sync again. There may be some frustration with the process, after the centerman had a strong start to the 2013-14 season, picking up where he left off in the playoffs - with reliable, two-way play and helping to provide secondary offense.
Going through the experience last season should help the process. And so will the leader's attitude.
When asked how different or similar this injury is, compared to the one last season, Kelly remarked, with his usual sarcasm, "Well, it's a different leg."
That was accompanied by a smirk and small burst of laughter, before he continued, on a serious note, "It's kind of similar, and [also] different. I found that with last year, I could push it a little more and get back quicker, whereas with this one it's a little difficult to push because of the spot it's in."
Still, the progress is there for Kelly, along with the positivity.
"But I'm starting to bike regularly. So it's been good, I'm hoping to get on the ice soon."
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