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Bergeron, Chara practice with Bruins returning from injury

Forward out since Nov. 16, defenseman injured Nov. 14; Miller cleared for contact

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

BOSTON -- Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara each participated in a full practice with the Boston Bruins on Wednesday for the first time since being injured.

Bergeron, who has 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 19 games, is closer to returning to the lineup from the ribs/collarbone injury he sustained Nov. 16 at the Dallas Stars. The 33-year-old center has missed 15 games and won't be available when the Bruins host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; SN 360, SNE, SNP, NESN, PRIME, NHL-TV). He could be back this weekend when the Bruins (18-12-4) host the Nashville Predators on Saturday or visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

"Good, feeling good," Bergeron said. "It was definitely a positive step forward today. I felt good and I've been skating pretty hard with [skating and skills coach] Kim [Brandvold] and the other [injured] guys that were in practice today. It's been good to actually get back on the ice and in practice situations."

Unlike Bergeron, Chara was not cleared for contact. The 41-year-old defenseman has missed 16 games since injuring the MCL in his left knee at the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 14. There's no timetable set for the return of Chara, who has four points (three goals, one assist) in 18 games.

"Again, we take it day by day and see again tomorrow how it's going to be after today's practice," Chara said. "Definitely want to play, that's what we are here for, but again want to make sure that it's really in a good position and strong enough to be battling again, playing, obviously, at high-speed level."

Defenseman Kevan Miller, who has missed 10 games since sustaining a throat injury at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 26, was cleared for contact and continued to practice with the Bruins. He is not cleared to play in a game, though, before next week.

Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen and forward Jake DeBrusk practiced in red non-contact jerseys as part of their returns from the NHL concussion protocol.

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