Kevan Miller

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

The Bruins got some encouraging health news this week as injured B’s defenseman Kevan Miller was able to skate on his own for 15 minutes Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena while the rest of the team was in Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old Miller has been out all season while trying to return from two different kneecap injuries suffered last season that kept him out of the entire postseason and limited him to just three games since the beginning of March. Miller underwent a procedure to assist in the healing process last month when he underwent a setback while trying to return earlier this season, so Sunday’s twirl was his first chance to get back on the ice and skate.

For a player that hasn’t played in almost a year now like Miller, any news is good news.

“That’s step one,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a positive.”

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Certainly, it’s good news, but it’s also the very beginning of a recovery process that Miller has already experienced setbacks to a couple of times. Given the normal timetable for players just returning to the ice from an injury, it would be at least 7-10 days before Miller would be anywhere close to returning to game action.

The Bruins will have their All-Star break and bye week over the next 10 days, so it would be at least a few weeks before Miller would be ready to return barring the kind of setbacks that have plagued him since suffering the kneecap injuries.

It remains very much an uphill battle for the rugged D-man in the last year of his contract with the Bruins, but he’s also a tough-minded player that the B’s have absolutely missed during last year’s playoff run and this season. Some of the perceived ability to push these Bruins players around on the ice is because they don’t have the hardnosed 6-foot-2, 210-pound Miller out there to protect his teammates.

Given Zdeno Chara’s age and Charlie McAvoy’s inconsistency this season, Brandon Carlo has ably carried a very heavy load for the Bruins as a big-bodied shutdown defenseman that’s playing big minutes and in all situations for the Black and Gold. Adding Miller to the Bruins group would Carlo some company in the tough guy category and would also limit the amount of ice time they have to give to John Moore, who has been inconsistent for the Black and Gold since returning from shoulder surgery last month.

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Kevan Miller remains out of Bruins practice after setback with knee

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File photo

Kevan Miller remains out of Bruins practice after setback with knee

BRIGHTON, Mass. — It would appear that Kevan Miller has suffered another setback of some kind in his attempted return from multiple kneecap injuries.

Bruce Cassidy confirmed that the 32-year-old Miller had “a procedure” within the last couple of weeks to promote healing in his knee after it appeared that he’d been nearing a return to the lineup last month. It was unclear whether it was the same kind of PRP (platelete-rich plasma) injection that Patrice Bergeron underwent over the summer to help his troublesome groin heal up more quickly, but it hasn’t allowed Miller to return to the ice with the rest of his Bruins teammates as of late.

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Miller was not out on the practice ice on Monday morning at Warrior Ice Arena even as Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh returned to skate on their own, and is out indefinitely after having played a grand total of two games since last March while dealing with a couple of kneecap injuries.

“It’s a good question. I don’t have an update. He had a procedure done that would require a little bit of time [to recover],” said Cassidy. “By now I thought he’d be back in the mix, but he’s not. We were away for a bit [on the road] so it was kind of out of sight, out of mind a little bit. We’ll do our best to get an update on his progress because he should have been back by now.”

It seems pretty clear that there must have been some kind of a setback with Miller if he required a procedure in the first place, and now his absence from the practice ice isn’t an encouraging sign either.

It continues to be a tough start to the year for Miller, who's in the final year of his contract and just hoping to regain the health to play considering he was once ahead of John Moore in terms of a timeline to play this season.

Now Moore is playing games for the Bruins and Miller remains off the ice with knee injuries that have kept him sidelined for eight months at a time when the Bruins could use his physical, bruising presence in the lineup.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins at practice as they ready for a showdown with Los Angeles on Tuesday night at TD Garden:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork Sean Kuraly Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom Chris Wagner David Backes

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
John Moore Matt Grzelcyk

STARTING GOALIE

Tuukka Rask

Bruins injuries: Torey Krug, Brett Ritchie could play Saturday vs. Wild

Bruins injuries: Torey Krug, Brett Ritchie could play Saturday vs. Wild

The Boston Bruins may be getting some reinforcements to their lineup Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.

Torey Krug hasn't played since Nov. 10 after suffering an upper-body injury against the Philadelphia Flyers, but is probable to play Saturday, according to Bruce Cassidy. Brett Ritchie, who is suffering from an infection issue, also is a possibility against the Wild. 

Patrice Bergeron was given a maintenance day and missed practice Friday. Par Lindholm, who required 18 stitches last night after being cut, has not been ruled out for tomorrow's matchup. 

Defensemen John Moore and Kevan Miller are still a couple weeks from being game-ready.

The 14-3-5 Bruins, who have not lost a regulation game on home ice, will host the struggling 9-11-2 Wild Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. 

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