- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOLTON, Mass. -- Despite some limitations, Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell has been able to skate on his surgically repaired right leg, and he’s hoping to be ready for the season opener on Oct. 3.
Campbell suffered a broken right fibula during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 5 at TD Garden. He blocked a slap shot from the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin during a Pittsburgh power play in the second period of a 2-1 double-overtime victory.
Campbell remained on the ice for more than a minute in obvious pain and helped the Bruins kill off the penalty, and that image quickly became part of sports lore in Boston.
With training camp beginning on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, Campbell will be able to participate in drills but says he still feels some discomfort.
“I’m going to feel it for a while,” he said. “If you’ve ever had a broken bone, I guess there’s a certain time frame where it’s expected to be fully healed but there are weeks and months after that you still feel the break. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m still going to feel it and I fully expect to feel it for a while now. As much as I can protect the area and make it as comfortable as possible, there’s still going to be some pain there that I’m going to have to live through.”
Campbell had a plate and screws inserted into his right leg to help the healing process. He said it took a while to get used to skating with the new hardware.
“That was something I initially felt and was a little bit surprised that I could feel it,” he said. “I guess it would be naive of me to think that I wouldn’t feel the screws and the plate when there was something rubbing against it.”
He’s been able to get used to it a little bit, but added there may be a possibility to have the screws surgically removed after the season is over.
“I’m hoping not to have it, but if that were the case then I’m sure it would be after the season next summer,” Campbell said.
Either way, he’s focused on the upcoming season and is thrilled to be back on the ice less than three months after he suffered the injury.
“I’m excited I’m back with the team and back on the ice,” Campbell said. “It’s a tough thing to sit out and watch the team play, so for me, it was a short summer but having said that, it was pretty difficult not being able to have my daily routine. I’m just happy to be participating with the team and hopefully going forward in the next couple of days I’ll feel well enough I can participate with the practices and see how that goes.”
During his summer rehab, even with a cast on his leg, Campbell attempted to work out as much as possible. Once he was given clearance to sweat, he would ride the stationary bike with one leg and tried to keep himself as fit as possible.
“Under the circumstances, I tried to watch my nutrition closely,” he said. “I knew that it would be a short offseason and I didn’t want to get behind too much.”
Admitting he’s a step behind his teammates, Campbell’s been skating as hard as he can during captain's practices.
“I’m trying to go 100 percent,” he said. “I’d say most of the guys are in top shape right now, so for me, I have to go at my own level and make sure I’m progressing in a way that’s going to benefit me in the long run. If there are things I don’t feel comfortable doing then I kind of hold back a little bit. I think I’m close. I don’t think I’m necessarily in game shape right now.”
Campbell has participated in captain’s practice three times already, and each time out he feels better. He’s added padding to his skate in order to make it more comfortable.
“When I’m off skates I barely feel it; it’s just when I put it in the skate is when that area is exposed and that’s been the most difficult,” he said.