WILMINGTON, Mass. - Defenseman Torey Krug was back practicing with the Bruins on Friday at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since having his left pinky finger broken with a slash.
Krug suffered the injury on October 28 against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.
"It's doing well. It's coming along nicely, made some good progress the last couple days," a smiling Krug said following Friday's skate. "And it's great to be back on the ice with my teammates, and competing and everything like that, so it's feeling better, that's for sure."
He had his left pinky finger wrapped in black tape.
"It was pretty bad," Krug smiled, acknowledging the photo of his broken finger that had surfaced around social media the night of the injury. "I mean, it's a freak accident, you know. You get slashed all the time, and it caught me in the perfect spot."
"It's not a good feeling - obviously you could see my reaction on the ice, but it's alright. It's feeling good, feeling better and hopefully I'll be back soon."
Krug has missed five games with the injury. The Bruins have Saturday off, and then will hit the ice Sunday for practice before hosting the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at TD Garden.
The blueliner's not sure what his status will be for the game.
"I don't know, I mean it's one of the things that I'll talk to the medical staff and the coaches will make a decision and we'll see," Krug said. "You know, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
"We'll see," Head Coach Claude Julien echoed, following Friday's skate. "Again, I can't stand here and talk about whether he'll be in. Game's not till Monday and we'll see how he is."
"[Friday] was his first day at practice, and if he's given the OK by the medical staff, I'll be more than happy to put him in. But I haven't been given the OK yet. I keep saying that - I don't anticipate anything until somebody tells me something."
Prior to his injury, Krug was given more responsibility against opponents' top players with the absences of Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller to injuries.
But a significant part of his game will always come down to skill, and his wicked shot, so Krug is taking the necessary steps to make sure he's ready before getting back into game action.
"So far, so good. I'm trying to take baby steps out there," Krug said. "I'm trying not to take one-timers or anything crazy yet, and baby steps, and hopefully that means I'll be back on the ice soon with my teammates."
"You know, I play a skilled game, you want to play with the puck, and obviously your hands are a big part of that, and it's just about adjusting to that, and I'll be alright."
The pinky provides more grip than one might realize.
"You never realize what big part your fingers play I guess, but it's just one of those things you have to get comfortable with moving on and taking those baby steps," Krug said. "And hopefully it comes together nicely and you know, like I said, I'm happy with where it is right now and the progress we've made the last couple days and moving forward, to get on the ice with my teammates."
About 20 minutes into Friday's practice, Krug suited up as a forward for drills, wearing a gold jersey with Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith. With Patrice Bergeron given a maintenance day, it served the purpose of filling out the forward lines, as well as providing Krug with an opportunity to get more skating in.
"A couple of drills today, there was a lot more skating for the forwards and obviously being out for a week, they wanted me to get my skating legs underneath me," Krug smiled. "But yeah, maybe work on the hands a little bit more [too]."
As he gains his grip back and feels more comfortable, he thinks the biggest challenge won't necessarily be the physical part.
"I think the main part is just mentally," Krug said. "I think it feels good and you've got to get over that mental hump where you're worried about getting slashed again or something like that."
"But yeah, gripping the stick, it definitely creates some challenges, but it's feeling good. I'm comfortable with it right now and as long as it keeps progressing, I'll be happy with it."