NEW YORK — Speaking for the first time since suffering a lower-body injury on his first shift in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs, Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg  said he is feeling better but still isn’t ready for game action.
“It’s tough to say how it comes along,” Seidenberg said after skating for nearly an hour throughout an optional morning skate and afterward. “I mean, today it felt pretty good. Better than the last couple of days, so it’s definitely a step forward. It’s tough to say [when I’ll] return.”
Seidenberg, who played two shifts in Game 7 against the Leafs, suffered the injury by landing awkwardly on an early play. After taking a second shift that lasted only six seconds, Seidenberg did not return to the game and has not played since. He remained on the bench, often standing up and sitting back down “to see if pain goes away and maybe somehow it recovers, but it never did.”
“You don’t want to just give up right away,” Seidenberg said, “even though it looked like [I was done].”
Claude Julien  said he would be surprised if Seidenberg was able to take warmups Tuesday. Asked if he thought he could potentially be in the mix in Thursday’s Game 4, Seidenberg shrugged and seemed unsure. He certainly didn’t give off the impression of someone who thought his return was imminent.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes in practice tomorrow and make the decision [afterward] I guess, but right now it’s still open.
“It’s up to me the way I feel and when I’m ready to go,” he added. “The doctors, they just look at it and say whether they agree or not, but at the end of the day it’s whether I can perform and help the team or not.”
Seidenberg is regularly in the Bruins’ top two in time on ice and plays a major role as the right defenseman on Boston’s top pairing. It could be argued that he was Boston’s best player last postseason against the Capitals, so missing time has been hard for the veteran, who missed the 2010 postseason with a lacerated tendon.
“It’s really nerve-wracking,” he said. “Watching games is tough. It doesn’t matter who it is, watching games is never fun. You always want to be part of it and help the team win. It’s something that I don’t enjoy, obviously.”
The silver lining for the Bruins is that young defensemen have stepped up with the injuries to Seideneberg, Andrew Ference  and Wade Redden.
“They’ve been real impressive,” Seidenberg said. “They’ve been really poised with the puck. That’s what they’ve been doing all season in Providence, I guess. I haven’t seen them, but that’s what I’ve heard. It’s really nice to have that backup and young guys to step in and stay calm and perform the way they have. It’s comforting.”
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