<
>

Sturm's a step away

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins forward Marco Sturm knows he’s getting close to returning to the lineup, and even though he’s been skating for more than a month, he has to be patient before he can be cleared for contact.

Sturm suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers on May 1 and required season-ending surgery. He suffered a similar injury to his left knee on Dec. 18, 2008 and missed the remainder of that season.

Because he’s been through this process twice in a short amount of time, he knows what expect.

From a conditioning standpoint, Sturm said he believes he’s ready. Now it’s only a matter of the physical aspect of the game.

“It’s more the battle,” he said. “I’m still not doing it and I still have to wait a little bit. That’s my last step to go, to battle, and practice with the guys too. For me and Savvy, it’s hard because the team doesn’t practice that much, so we just have to find a way.”

Because of the Bruins’ recent schedule, the team hasn’t been able to conduct full practices. In fact, there have been only two in the last week.

Sturm’s still not ready to pinpoint a return date.

“It’s tough to say. When I came back last time, I had a big break and had time to rest too,” he said. “This time, I skated earlier and I’m trying to get better every week.”

When Sturm was first able to lace up his skates and begin individual on-ice workouts on Oct. 26, the Bruins were playing well. Until the team’s recent skid, losing four of the last five games, Sturm was at ease, knowing he didn’t have to rush back because the team was successful.

“There are always going to be bumps in the road,” he said. “It seems like right now there is a little one, but I’m not concerned at all about this team. We have a good hockey team. Of course you want to get back either way, but [losing] doesn’t really change my mind.”

Sturm has proven to be an offensive asset when he’s healthy, posting at least 20 goals in four of the last five seasons.