WILMINGTON, Mass. — For the second straight day, Bruins forward Brad Marchand missed practice as the Bruins went through their final workout before returning to action Thursday against Atlanta.

Marchand is likely to miss that game as well, though Bruins coach Claude Julien did hold out some optimism for the rookie agitator's availability in the near future.

"I guess he's getting a little better here," said Julien after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "I think he's questionable for tomorrow, but after that, we're hopefully looking for the good news."

The Bruins have still not revealed the exact nature of Marchand's injury. After being blasted with a huge open-ice hit by P.K. Subban in Montreal last Thursday, Marchand was hurt on another hit late in the second period of Saturday's game against Washington and did not return for the third. He also sat out Monday's 3-0 loss to Anaheim.

Marchand, with 4-8-12 totals and is a plus-5 in 31 games, has been a key part of Boston's "energy line" with Greg Campbell and Shawn Thornton. He also has excelled at getting under opponents' skin and is tied for the league lead with three shorthanded goals.

Daniel Paille replaced him on that line against Anaheim and has skated with Campbell and Thornton in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Paille, who has no goals and just one assist and is a minus-3 in 12 games, would play again on Thursday if Marchand cannot go.