Kelly 'on track' in recovery from broken ankle

Kelly 'on track' in recovery from broken ankle
January 2, 2014, 2:15 pm
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON – While the return of Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton brings the Bruins closer to their fully realized lineup of players, there are still some skaters like Chris Kelly that remain on the sidelines.

Kelly has been out since a Pascal Dupuis slash broke his right fibula back on Dec. 7, and has missed 11 games and nearly a month of action with an injury that was originally expected to keep the third line center out for 3-6 weeks. Clearly the three weeks has already passed, but the Bruins medical staff fully expected Kelly’s recovery would push into the six-week range from the outset of the injury.

Kelly broke a bone in the other leg last season that kept him out for just under a month, but the 33-year-old said it’s a much different injury this time around.

“I feel much better. I’m able to move around,” said Kelly. “Everything is on track. It’s obviously one of those injuries you need to be careful with because you don’t want to push it too much and set you back.

“It’s kind of a similar [injury], but also different. I’ve found last year I could push it a little more, and get back quicker. This year it’s a little more difficult to push because of the spot it’s in. But I’m starting to bike regularly now, and I’m hoping to get back on the ice soon.”

It will be interesting to see what exactly happens with Kelly when he does return given how well 21-year-old Ryan Spooner has played in his place centering the third line. The speedy, playmaking Spooner doesn’t have Kelly’s experience or defensive grit, but he’s blessed with skills that have let him rack up eight assists – five of them on the power play – in 13 games with the Black and Gold this season.

There’s a chance that Kelly could be moved to the wing, or some line combinations could be switched around to make room for Spooner. It doesn’t seem like there’s much to be gained by sending him back to the AHL now that he’s starting to light it up at the NHL level.