- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly and defenseman Dougie Hamilton both returned to practice Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena, but their return to game action remains questionable.
Kelly, who has missed 20 games since suffering a broken right fibula on Dec. 7, has been cleared for contact, but Hamilton, who has missed four games due to a mild concussion, has not been cleared.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he still doesn't know when Kelly will be cleared for game action, but the coach is hoping it is within a week. The veteran forward will travel on the team's next road trip to Philadelphia and New York. However, Hamilton's travel status remains in question, according to Julien.
Kelly had been skating on his own for the last week and a half, and looked good during Thursday's practice.
"I was excited to come today. It's been a little bit longer than I would have liked, but it's all part of the process of getting better, and today was a good step in the right direction," Kelly said.
"It's just one day at a time, and today was better than yesterday, so I hope tomorrow is better than today and we'll go from there," he added.
Kelly's presence, both on and off the ice, has been missed.
"When you look at his experience with faceoffs, he's a good two-way player, reliable and his leadership. He's been missed," Julien said. "But other guys have stepped in and have done a pretty good job."
Meanwhile, defenseman Adam McQuaid, who suffered a leg injury during the second period of Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Chicago, did not practice with the team Thursday and is still listed as day to day, according to Julien.
"His injury is an injury that's really hard to assess, and that's why I'm giving you the day to day [status] because nobody, even medical staff, has been able to give us a pinpointed time, so it depends how he heals," said Julian. "It could be shorter, it could be longer, so we just got to go about it on a day to day situation."
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