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Andrew Ference Returns To Practice With Bruins

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Andrew Ference (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Andrew Ference (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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WILMINGTON (CBS) — Andrew Ference took another step toward full health on Tuesday, as he participated in practice with the Bruins for the first time since suffering an injury in Game 5 against the Maple Leafs.

Ference skated for the first time on Monday, but he did so while the rest of his teammates had the day off.

The 34-year-old Ference said after practice on Tuesday that he’s feeling much better and has had two good days of work on the ice.

“It’s great to be back on the ice,” Ference said. “It’s been a good couple of days. I’m skating really well. It’s nice to just get back on the ice and back into practice.”

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Ference’s ailment was listed only as a “lower-body” injury, but he was seen walking around the TD Garden wearing a walking boot as recently as Saturday night, after the Bruins defeated the Rangers to advance to the conference finals.

With the series not scheduled to start until the weekend, Ference will have a few more days to get back into the flow of things at practices. However, it’s not clear exactly how head coach Claude Julien will handle the situation of having a healthy Ference readily available.

During the absences of Ference, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, Julien was forced to use rookie D-men Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug. Hamilton lost his spot once Seidenberg returned, but Krug (four goals, one assist, plus-3 rating in five games) and Bartkowski (one goal, one assist, minus-1 rating in 138:26 time on ice) have filled in seamlessly.

Julien said Monday that he expects all players to be ready when called upon, and he said Tuesday that the Bruins still aren’t at the point where they need to make a decision on Ference.

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