BOSTON — There was an injured defenseman back on the ice participating fully in the Bruins practice at the Garden on Thursday, but it wasn't the blueliner the club expected to be closest to returning.
Steven Kampfer, who has yet to play this season since suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee in the preseason, has been cleared for contact and took part in the entire workout. But Adam McQuaid, who was originally thought to have a chance to return to action on Tuesday, did not practice at all on Wednesday and his status remains cloudy.
"I thought he was certainly as close as could be to coming back, but again, there's some issues where we have pulled him back again," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It's a little bit longer than we predicted."
McQuaid was injured when he lost his footing and crashed into the boards in Carolina last Wednesday and has missed the past two games. He returned to practice on Monday and skated in Tuesday's morning skate before the rematch with the Hurricanes, but did not skate in warm-ups and was held out again. It now appears unlikely that he will play Thursday against Toronto either.
"I'd still say [he's] day to day," Julien said. "But you didn't see him out there [Wednesday] because we pulled him back. That's as specific as I can get."
McQuaid's injury is still being described as a neck issue. The Bruins don't believe he suffered a concussion, but they have been following the concussion protocols for him as a precaution.
"There's no signs of it," Julien said. "It looks more like the neck issue, but we're dealing with it like a concussion and he's gone through a bunch of protocols that he's passed. But the end decision belongs to the player. Doctors can clear him all they want, but if I don't feel he's ready to go and he doesn't quite feel 100 percent, then you make that decision."
After some hopeful signs earlier in the week, it doesn't appear that McQuaid is ready to make that decision just yet.
"It's one of those things where I've always given the player the last call on everything," Julien said. "The doctors will do whatever they have to do, then it's a discussion between he and I. And right now it's more than that because he wasn't on the ice [Wednesday]."
Kampfer was on the ice and was cleared for contact for the first time on Wednesday. He has an outside shot of returning to game action on Thursday.
"He was allowed to have contact [Wednesday]," Julien said. "He's probably going to be a guy that we may have an opinion from our doctors that he could be a game-time decision [Thursday]."
Fellow defenseman Joe Corvo also practiced and reported he was OK after taking a scary hit in Tuesday's loss to Carolina. Brett Sutter was called for interference after sending Corvo flying into the boards in the corner. Corvo missed the remainder of the first period, but returned to finish the game.
"I'm good, just a couple bruises," Corvo said. "Head-wise everything is fine. It was more my neck got twisted, so my neck is pretty sore, but other than that and a bruise on my rear that's about it."