Kelly, Hamilton cleared for full contact, making trip

Kelly, Hamilton cleared for full contact, making trip
January 24, 2014, 2:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

WILMINGTON – Dougie Hamilton and Chris Kelly have both been fully cleared for contact while once again joining the team for Friday practice at Ristuccia Arena, and will be traveling with the team on the road trip through Philadelphia and Long Island. Adam McQuaid didn’t practice with the Bruins, and will be the only active player that won’t be making the road trip with the Black and Gold.

Claude Julien didn’t rule out either Hamilton or Kelly from being a game time decision on Saturday afternoon against the Flyers.

The coach did hint that Hamilton (mild concussion) appears closer to a return than Kelly (broken right ankle) given that the third line center missed the last six weeks of action.

“We’ll see [on Saturday]. If anything Dougie is probably closer because he’s missed maybe a week, and [Kelly] has missed six weeks,” said Julien. “The game shape is the real question. We need to continue to do some battle drills with him like we did at the end of practice.

“You can skate players all you want, but what is tiring is when you get into the battles. [Kelly] has been cleared, which is good. After he’s been cleared then most of the decision comes my way.”

The 20-year-old Hamilton was just excited to be back in the mix of things after missing a month with a sprained MCL, and then going out with the first concussion of his career five games after his return.

“Now I feel pretty good, and I feel a lot better about myself, and am relieved in a way,” said Hamilton. “Obviously there are a lot of [concussions], and it’s something you want to avoid.

“It’s pretty stressful with your head. With other parts of your body you don’t worry about it too much because you know it’s going to be better. There are all those stories [about concussions] where guys can be out for a year, or for two days.”

Hamilton contends that the concussion was actually suffered in the loss to the LA Kings, but that he wasn’t pulled out of the lineup until the following game – a win against the San Jose Sharks.

“I wasn’t sure. I’ve never really had anything like [a concussion], and I didn’t really know. I played the rest of the [LA] and then the next game, but I just didn’t real right,” said Hamilton. “After the game in San Jose I didn’t feel good at all, so I kind of knew after that game that there was something more than the usual thing. It was everything that comes along with a concussion.

“In the San Jose game I was kind of light-headed and nauseous, and when I get back [to Boston] I had some pretty bad headaches. I was tired, and kind of down…kinda moods, and stuff like that. Then that went away, and there was kind of a whiplash thing with my neck and my jaw. Once that’s come and gone away, it’s just been good to get back into shape skating.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien said there was some gray area with the cause of Hamilton’s headaches. It could have been a byproduct of the youngster unsure of what exactly was happening with his first head injury, or the similarity in some symptoms between a neck injury and a head injury.

“It’s complicated. Sometimes there are headaches, and there are other types of headaches. Some of those headaches might have been caused by other things, and then there is the concussion,” said Julien. “It was a little bit . . . not confusing, but not 100 percent sure.”

Either way it’s in the rear view for both Hamilton and the Bruins. It’s realistic to think he may make his return during the two-game road swing against the Flyers and the Islanders.