- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Bruins forward Gregory Campbell is anxious to play a preseason game, and he believes he’s ready.
Campbell suffered a broken right fibula during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 5 at TD Garden. He blocked a slap shot by the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin during a Pittsburgh power play and remained on the ice for more than a minute in obvious pain to help the Bruins kill off the penalty.
Doctors had to insert a plate and six screws to help the bone heal, and those will remain in place for now. He can have them removed in the future, but if he does it won’t be until the offseason.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said Campbell would not play in a preseason game until he’s been cleared medically, but the veteran forward appears ready for action.
“There’s no question I think I’m ready,” he said. “This is preseason and this is the point of preseason to prepare. No one is expecting me to go out there and be in Stanley Cup final shape, it’s more about getting my game back and feeling comfortable. The decision will be made by the coaching staff and the training staff.”
The Bruins will host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at TD Garden and Campbell is hoping to see his name on the roster.
"I think [Thursday’s] even a realistic possibility,” he said. “I talked to the surgeon the other day and things look good, so it’s a matter of what Claude has in store and what he wants to do with the lineup. As far as I’m concerned, I'm more than willing to play and I want to play. I want to test myself and see how I feel in a game situation.”
During Wednesday’s practice, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid collided with Campbell and he fell feet first into the boards. He quickly got up and continued the drill.
“It’s not really a concern,” Campbell said. “It’s kind of getting my balance back and feeling comfortable on my skates and feeling the weight of another player is something that will give me more confidence as time goes on. Those drills are beneficial for me. I lost my footing. It’s not so much me being worried how my leg is going to respond, it’s a matter of me feeling comfortable enough in those situations. I feel pretty good.”
A true indication of whether a player is ready to return to game action after an injury is how well he competes in battle drills. During Wednesday’s practice, Campbell showed no ill effects.
“If you can compete in those one-on-one battles and your strength is good enough, and you can do whatever you want off the ice, as soon as you get into the one-on-one battles you find out quick enough if you’re in shape,” Campbell said.