Rich Peverley, who has been sidelined with a sprained MCL in his right knee for the past month, has returned to the ice, skating back in Boston for the first time on Wednesday. Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed the news to reporters after Thursday's morning skate in Sunrise, Fla., where the Bruins are set to close out their three-game road trip against the Panthers on Thursday night.
Peverley was injured on a knee-on-knee hit by then-Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill in Montreal on Feb. 15. The veteran forward has 9-29-38 totals in 49 games in his first full season with the club after being acquired from Atlanta just before the 2011 trade deadline.
Thursday's game will be the 15th straight Peverley will miss with the injury. There will be 12 more games remaining in the regular season after that contest, and the Bruins hope that Peverley can return in time to play in a few of them to get back to full speed before the playoffs.
"He's been out for 4-6 weeks," Julien said. "So we hope based on when it happened that maybe a couple weeks before the end of the season or a week before he's going to be back with use because you want to hopefully give him some games.
"The same thing would be ideal if we could get [Nathan] Horton over the hump as well," Julien added. "So that's another story."
Horton, who has 17-15-32 totals in 46 games, has been out since suffering a concussion on Jan. 22 in Philadelphia. The Bruins would love to get him back before the end of the regular season as well, but there has been little progress reported in Horton's recovery to date.
On Thursday, Julien noted only that, "He's not skating."