B's Campbell returns to ice after broken leg

B's Campbell returns to ice after broken leg
September 6, 2013, 4:15 am
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LOWELL, Mass. – While Gregory Campbell wouldn’t say he was at exactly the same level as the rest of his Bruins teammates after spending the summer rehabbing from a broken bone in his right leg, it was a good sign to see the fourth-line center on the ice once again.

Campbell has been physically cleared to skate for about two weeks, and the gritty pivot made his debut on the ice on Thursday morning at Bruins captain’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. He spoke about his progress recovering from the significant injury at Thursday night’s Milan Lucic "Rock and Jock" softball game at LeLacheur Park, and felt good enough to play in the charity softball game.

Campbell didn’t expect to be at full speed when training camp opens next week, but he also fully expects to be ready to go once the season opens against the Tampa Bay Lightning in October.

“It felt OK. I’ve been on the ice for a little over two weeks now, and I was waiting to finally get cleared. As soon as I could get on the ice, I really wanted to get on the ice,” said Campbell, who has had special modifications made to his right skate to accommodate some of the discomfort from his foot related to the injury. “Every day has progressively gotten a little bit better. I wouldn’t say that I’m quite ready to compete with the rest of these guys yet, but every day I keep getting a little better.

“I don’t quite feel like I’m game-ready right now, but that’s OK. I just need to bear with the process and have some patience. I definitely think I’ll be more than ready when the season comes around. But for [training camp] I just need to be on my own agenda, and made sure the healing process is progressing well.”

The 29-year-old center was the picture of courage, heart and toughness in the Stanley Cup playoffs when he blocked a sizzling Evgeni Malkin shot with his right leg.

Campbell finished off a minute-long shift in the Bruins' Game 3 win before skating to the bench in extreme pain. His absence forced the Bruins coaching staff to break up the Merlot line of Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille for the rest of the playoffs, and their depth situation was never the same against the Penguins or the Chicago Blackhawks.

B’s training camp begins Sept. 11, and it seems that the fourth-line center is on track to be fully ready when the puck drops for the NHL regular season nearly a month afterward. The Bruins set a 6-8 week recovery timetable for Campbell when he sustained the injury, and it appears that the gritty forward is right on schedule