Dougie Hamilton cleared for contact

Updated: January 24, 2014, 3:03 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has been cleared for contact, but his availability remains questionable for Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Hamilton has missed the past four games because of a mild concussion but has been skating for the past six days and participated in battle drills during Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena.

"Every day I've felt better and I'm ready to play," Hamilton said.

Whether he's given clearance to return to the lineup Saturday remains to be seen, and coach Claude Julien said he hasn't determined the answer.

"Usually when they're cleared for contact, then it becomes a matter of us figuring out whether they're ready to play or if they need a little more practice time," Julien said. "Honestly, we'll see. I haven't even thought that far, yet."

Hamilton missed 10 games last month because of a lower-body injury and had returned for five games before suffering the concussion.

"It's been frustrating, mostly," Hamilton said. "Obviously, you don't want to be injured and it was just when I was getting back into the groove. It's just kind of frustrating, so hopefully I can get back and back into a routine."

Also, forward Chris Kelly is ready to return to the lineup after missing the past 20 games with a broken right fibula. He was cleared for contact this week and also said he's ready to go.

After Friday's practice, Kelly said he didn't know if he'll return on Saturday against the Flyers.

Julien said Hamilton should be ready to return to the lineup sooner than Kelly, because Hamilton has missed only four games whereas Kelly has been sidelined for six weeks.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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