WILMINGTON, MA - Daniel Paille joined the Bruins for practice on Sunday morning at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since being sidelined by what he deemed as a "very mild, very light" concussion.
Paille has missed straight six games, though, dating back to December 10 in Calgary, after first feeling symptoms while on the road with the Bruins in Canada.
He skated for two days on his own before returning to practice, and has been symptom-free for about six days, since the Bruins hosted the Calgary Flames on December 17.
Though he wasn't making the trip to Nashville with the team before the Christmas break, it was still a great sign in his progress.
"Still haven’t been cleared yet, so I still have to do the testing right now and when that process goes through, I’ll be able to travel but, until then, they thought it was best to stay here," Paille said following practice.
He was speaking media for the first time since the Bruins' road trip through Canada, when he flew back to Boston from Calgary to be evaluated for concussion-like symptoms. (For injured Bruins, the first time they address media comes when they return to their first full practice).
Paille has been diagnosed with two concussions prior to this one, but those were "quick and easy," with no symptoms, according to the winger. In those cases, he took the week off as a precaution.
"So for me, it’s technically possibly my first one so it was a little bit different to get used to," he said. "But you hear of it and you kind of realize what guys go through in that type of situation so, for myself, it was a different aspect."
"I think I did the right thing where as soon as I felt those symptoms, I said it immediately and they did a good job for me to go home and get it checked out again."
Paille had played against Toronto on December 8 and took part in practice in Calgary the following day, before realizing he didn't feel too well.
"I was just getting some headaches and some symptoms and I thought it was the flu, so I just kind of let it go," said Paille, of how he felt initially, with the flu starting to sweep through the team.
"And then as soon as we practiced in Calgary, I didn’t feel too well and I spoke with the medical staff as soon as I thought it was relevant and for myself, they just sent me back home to get further evaluated. I came back here [to Boston] and they realized I was just getting some concussion symptoms."
During the Bruins' trip through Canada, Paille took it easy back in Boston, staying at home to rest. It took about four or five days, during that time the team was still on the road, for him to start feeling back to normal again.
He's not too sure exactly how the concussion came on, but he believes it's more from repetition than just one heavy hit.
"I wouldn’t say it was one hit. For a while, I was kind of just working on my neck and then over time, it’s just been hit after hit," said Paille, who had been working through a sore neck.
"So I didn’t necessarily have symptoms back then; my neck was just really sore and hard to move."
But then the travel from Toronto from Calgary felt "a little bit different" for Paille, so he informed the medical staff of that progression, and they sent him back home to Boston for further evaluation.
While Paille won't be joining the Bruins on their trip to Nashville, it was certainly a welcome sight for his teammates to see him out on the ice.
"It’s a lot of fun having those guys come back to the rink," said defenseman Torey Krug. "We have a great group of guys and we all get along very well so you see guys coming back to the rink and getting out on the ice - Dougie was skating there for a bit today, Piesy’s out there, Quaider’s getting close to coming back."
Along with that trio, Chris Kelly (broken right fibula) has been working out to stay in shape, Loui Eriksson is back around the rink as he works his way back from his concussion, and Shawn Thornton has been back with the team since they returned from the road trip.
"It’s just fun to see everyone at the rink and getting back out there together," said Krug.