Kelly hopeful he can return this season

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Even though Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly is out indefinitely with a broken left tibia, he remains upbeat and hopes to return by the end of the season.

Kelly suffered the injury when he collided with the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Neil during the second period last Monday at Ottawa.

“It hurt,” Kelly said Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena. “But it could’ve been much worse. It was pretty sore.”

Kelly admitted the hit was accidental.

“It was just a hockey play,” Kelly said. “Both guys kind of turned and we didn’t have anyplace to go. Things happen quick out there and that’s all it was.”

Neil sent Kelly a text message after the game to apologize.

“I just said: ‘It’s a hockey play.’ That’s all it was,” Kelly said.

There’s still swelling and he’s trying to make sure he doesn’t lose strength in the leg because he would like to return by the end of the season.

“I’m hoping,” he said. “They haven’t really given me a timeframe. It’s one of those things you need to let heal and hope for best.”

There was no discussion of needing surgery on the break.