WILMINGTON — Chris Kelly  has never missed more than seven games in a regular season, so the next however many weeks is going to be a new experience for him.
“It won’t be the best time,” Kelly said Friday.
Kelly is out “indefinitely” (Peter Chiarelli‘s words) as a result of a broken left tibia he suffered in a knee-on-knee collision with Senators forward Chris Neil. Speaking Friday for the first time since the injury and sporting no crutches, cast, or anything other than his clothes, Kelly said he’s “hoping” to be back by the end of the regular season, but doesn’t know.
“[I’m] just trying to get it better,” he said. “There’s no real time frame. Just come here, work hard, and let the medical staff and trainers do their job.”
Icing to get the swelling down and maintaining the strength in the leg is the priority for Kelly now in the recovery process. The 32-year-old center actually said he considers himself fortunate that the injury he suffered was worse. He knew when he hit the ice that it was bad, but the fear from watching the play in real time was that he could have injured his knee, which would have meant a much longer recovery time and potentially the end of his season.
“You’ve got to look at the positives in certain situations,” Kelly said. “It could have been much worse.”
As for the collision itself, Kelly found no problem with it.
“I think it was just a hockey play, to be honest,” he said. “Both guys kind of turned there and we didn’t really have any place to go. Things happen quick out there, and that’s all it was really.
“Chris and I are friends, and he sent me a text right after apologizing. I just said, ‘It was a hockey play.’ That’s all it is.”
With Kelly out, the Bruins have gone with Rich Peverley , who has played right wing for the majority of his Bruins career, at center between Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron. Though it’s probably hard for Kelly to be a spectator, he’s liked what he’s seen out of the revamped third line over the last two games.
“In the two games, they’ve had a lot of offensive time and they’ve moved the puck well,” he said. “Pevs has looked great at center. ‘¦ It’s a pretty familiar position for Rich, and I thought the line worked well together.”