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BOSTON (CBS) — Patrice Bergeron was already a beloved Boston sports figure before last season’s postseason run, and when fans found out the injuries he played through during the Stanley Cup Final, it only further cemented his status as an all-time Bruin.
Now, two-plus months have passed, an eight-year contract extension has been signed, and Bergeron is gearing up for the 2013-14 season. And he’s doing so healthy … mostly.
“What’s still lingering is just the ribs, the area around there, the cartilage, that still needs a little bit of time to heal,” Bergeron said at the TD Garden on Wednesday, after completing and passing his physical tests at the start of Bruins training camp. “It’s probably 95 percent healed. I still have probably 5 percent left to feel really 100 percent.”
Bergeron famously played through a broken rib, torn cartilage and a separated shoulder, and he sustained a small hole in his lung because of the injury. That was in line with the guts shown by teammate Gregory Campbell, who finished a shift in the Eastern Conference finals after suffering a broken leg.
Campbell made news this summer for participating in an autograph event in which he refused to sign any pictures of the injury, and that type of attitude is once again in line with Bergeron.
“We don’t feel like it was anything special, anything extraordinary to be honest with you,” Bergeron said. “We felt like we were just trying to do our jobs. Same thing for me, I was just trying to be out there to help the team as much as possible on the ice. I’m 100 percent positive that all the guys would have done the same thing. Especially late in the season in the Finals like that, you want to be out there helping your teammates out, and that’s the least I could have done.”
As for this season, head coach Claude Julien said both Bergeron and Campbell will be able to participate in practice, but they’ve not yet been cleared by the medical staff to play in exhibition games, which begin Monday night in Montreal.
“They’re going to practice with us, they’re going to be on the ice, and I think when it comes time to play those exhibition games, it will be a conversation with our trainers and making sure if they’re going to play that there’s not a risk factor,” Julien said. “Right now, I would tell you that they would not be cleared to play a game if we started today, but that might change in the coming days or a week from now.”
Bergeron said he doesn’t anticipate any setbacks when he increases his physical workload at practice.
“We’re gonna go with how it goes. Honestly, if I feel fine in the first couple of practices and I feel I can kind of bang around and play physical in the 1-on-1′s and stuff like that on the ice, I’ll pretty much feel like I’ll be ready to get going and move forward,” Bergeron said. “So I guess the next couple of days will really tell me where I stand with the lingering injuries.”