Boston Bruins

Bruins GM Don Sweeney met with reporters on Wednesday, mainly to talk about Zdeno Chara’s one-year extension. But of course, the questions were eventually going to shift to the team’s injured players, with the captain among them.

Chara has been battling an upper-body injury, but recently resumed skating with the team. He’s a possibility to return for Thursday night’s pivotal matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden, along with Charlie McAvoy (sprained MCL). Rookie winger Jake DeBrusk also recently resumed skating as he nears a return from his own upper-body injury, while David Backes (leg laceration) continues to work his way back.

The big question, however, is what’s going on with big-ticket trade deadline addition Rick Nash. There’s been no updates or timetables for his potential return from what’s being termed an upper-body injury. But Sweeney’s comments about the Bruins’ health on Wednesday offer a glimmer of hope.

“I don’t think we have a definitive timetable on any one of those players, but they’ve all gotten closer to getting back in our lineup, and hopefully they’ll be sooner rather than later,” said Sweeney. “We’ve had the next-man-up attitude, but we will look forward to getting their full lineup together and having everybody back, and hopefully, before the end of the season.”

Rick Nash (Photo credit: Mike Penhollow/Boston Bruins)

Rick Nash (Photo credit: Mike Penhollow/Boston Bruins)

Will Rick Nash Return?

Presumably, a “full lineup” for the Bruins would include Nash. But Sweeney also confirmed that Nash still hasn’t returned to the ice, and didn’t mention him among the other names when talking about their recoveries.

The concern with Nash, of course, is that he suffered a concussion. He’s suffered at least two documented head injuries in his career, in 2013 and again in 2014. But his specific injury is unclear to this point. It’s certainly an eyebrow-raiser that he still can’t skate, despite the injury being to his upper body. Best-case scenario could be a bad shoulder sprain, which could be the case based on the hit from the Lightning’s Cedric Paquette that appeared to injure him.

There’s also concussion concern now for defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who had to leave Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with an upper-body injury after taking a nasty hit from Josh Morrissey. The Bruins recalled left-shot defenseman Tommy Cross from Providence on Thursday morning, perhaps to be prepared for Grzelcyk’s absence on Thursday.

Still, it wouldn’t be ideal for Sweeney to talk about getting a “full lineup” back if there wasn’t an expectation for that by the start of the playoffs. But the lack of information about Nash, in particular, has certainly felt ominous.

— By Matt Dolloff,

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at