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Matt Grzelcyk Returns To Bruins Practice, Wearing Non-Contact Jersey; Zdeno Chara Not Present

BOSTON (CBS) -- There was a pleasant sight on the ice for the Bruins at practice on Wednesday, as defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was present for the team's off-day practice at TD Garden.

Grzelcyk was wearing a red jersey, indicating that he's not cleared for contact. But his presence was nevertheless a positive development, both for him and the team.

The 25-year-old defenseman suffered a concussion after taking a hit by St. Louis forward Oskar Sundqvist late in the first period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final last Wednesday. Grzelcyk left the game and did not return, getting sent to the hospital for testing.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy revealed the following day that Grzelcyk was in the concussion protocol, thus making his status going forward unknown.

That status is still unclear, but a return to the ice -- even if just for practice -- is a big step forward for the D-man.

Cassidy said after the practice that Grzelcyk remains in the concussion protocol, but there's a possibility that he'll be cleared to play in time for Game 5.

Grzelcyk said he's hopeful to get cleared.

"The toughest thing is just not being out there with the team. Having to sit and watch is obviously tough when you get to this stage," Grzelcyk said after practice.  "Hopefully I get cleared to play. And if I get called, I'll be ready."

The Bruins are currently without another defenseman, as Zdeno Chara reportedly suffered a broken jaw after taking a deflected puck to the face in Monday's Game 4. Chara's status for Thursday night's Game 5 and the remainder of the series is unknown as well, but he was not present during Wednesday's practice skate.

Charlie McAvoy -- who's normally paired with Zdeno Chara -- was skating at practice with John Moore, who entered the lineup as a replacement for Grzelcyk. The second pairing of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo remained intact, while Steven Kampfer skated alongside Connor Clifton. That may be an indication that Kampfer will be the defenseman who replaces Chara (if necessary) on Thursday night, though the 20-year-old Urho Vaakanainen was participating in Wednesday's practice as well.

Vaakanainen skated with Grzelcyk on Wednesday.

Cassidy said that he'll provide an update on Chara on Thursday.


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