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Pacioretty skates briefly after concussion @NHLdotcom

BROSSARD, Quebec (AP) - Montreal's Max Pacioretty went for a short skate on his own before the Canadiens practice on Friday, his first since suffering a severe concussion.

He suffered a concussion and a fractured vertebra after a hit from Boston's Zdeno Chara on March 8. Pacioretty then collided with a padded stanchion supporting a glass partition at the Bell Center.

Coach Jacques Martin said the short skate is the start of his rehabilitation.

Pacioretty's agent Alex Schall said this week he does not expect him to be ready to play until training camp. Martin said there was no change in the team's assessment that he could resume practicing as early as mid-April.

The injury and the NHL's failure to suspend Chara sparked a heated debate over hits to the head.

Also, defenseman Jaroslav Spacek practiced for the first time since he suffered a knee injury that required surgery. He has missed 11 games. Martin said he will travel with the team for a game in New Jersey on Saturday night but won't play.

He hopes to get Spacek back for at least one of the team's final three regular-season games next week.

Forward Jeff Halpern will miss the trip with a lower body injury.

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