BostonBruins.com - Considering the laundry list of injuries we learned were plaguing Patrice Bergeron at the end of last season, it seems there can never be enough updates from the Bruins' alternate captain on his health heading into Training Camp.
The verdict? No setbacks, and still on track as camp inches closer and closer, set to begin this coming Wednesday, September 11.
Bergeron has not been able to join his teammates yet for Captain's Practices at the B's practice facility, Ristuccia Arena, in Wilmington, MA. He returned to Boston Wednesday from his native Quebec, but had to jet off to New York City for the annual NHL Player Media Tour, a two-day affair with photos shoots, interviews and publicity to aid in the League's marketing and promotion for 2013-14.
"I'm looking forward, first of all, to being back and seeing the guys in Boston," Bergeron told me via phone from New York City on Thursday.
"I would have loved to be there today [Thursday] but I can't wait to be back on the ice with them."
He may not have seen his teammates yet, but he's certainly been skating. The centerman has been on the ice for three weeks now and has been working out for the past month, at least.
"[I'm] feeling like I can do the workouts that I want to," said Bergeron. "I've been going on the ice and felt okay so, very positive, actually. So I feel pretty confident I'll be on time to start camp with all of the guys and go from there."
Just as the B's at Captain's Practice were ecstatic to see teammate Gregory Campbell back smiling on the ice and around the locker room (and on track for camp), the welcome for a healthy Bergeron joining his 'mates on the ice will bring its own fair amount of fanfare.
Though his injuries didn't require surgery, Bergeron had to force himself to rest for four weeks following the Stanley Cup Final, letting his rib area and collapsed lung to heal, along with physical therapy for his separated shoulder.
He was finally able to begin working out around the end of July and early August, and he has been on the upswing ever since - while still exercising caution.
"I've been increasing [my workouts], seeing if I feel ready," Bergeron said, of having to feel his way through his recovery. "I was going on pain, I was just trying to figure it out as I went on - if the pain wasn't too bad, I kept pushing myself."
Heading into camp, the B's leader won't have to take any strict precautions, as his prescribed "rest time" has long passed.
"I had some precautions that I needed to take, and had to take, in the first four or five weeks after the injury," stressed Bergeron. "So I talked with the doctors and they were clear on me not doing anything for that time because my lung needed to heal and everything around it needed to heal, to make sure it was back to normal."
Though the toughest part (mentally, at least) of the recovery phase is over, the center will still have to stay extremely in tune with his body, in order to keep pushing ahead and make sure he's ready for the start of the regular season on October 3.
"[The rest time] was the biggest thing that I needed to do and then after that, it was about going with how I felt and increasing the workouts when I could."
Bergeron is no stranger to the strain of working his way back from injury. His most grueling recoveries have come following concussions, with no timetable in sight.
This time around, he has a distinct set of steps in the rehab process, and that process is nearly complete. Now, the focus is on making sure he's 100 percent ready to help his team.
"I think it's going to be all by feel," Bergeron said.
And right now, he's feeling pretty good.