BOSTON — Before the Boston Bruins took their morning skate at the TD Banknorth Garden, the club’s two walking wounded players — defenseman Aaron Ward and forward Petteri Nokelainen — took advantage of the open iceĀ  to skate for the first time since their respective injuries.

Ward re-injured his leg two shifts into Bruins’ Dec. 12 game after he’d missed four contests. Nokelainen suffered an upper-body injury in the same game.

“It’s another step toward getting better, and (Ward) and Nokey went on the ice this morning and just had a light skate. So again we’re going to try to rebuild him to the point where we can get him back in the line-up and see if he can last more than a shift,” said head coach Claude Julien.

Julien went on to explain that there’s no one to blame for Ward’s brief return in Atlanta.

“He really felt he was ready. He had skated for two or three days. From what we saw, we felt he was ready. He just happened to get into a situation where he battled more than he had in practice and he felt it. So cautiously and the right decision to pullĀ  himself out. Those kind of injuries, if you push too hard, you could push yourself back for a few months. He did the right thing, and now we took a step back and we’re going to get him back to playing at 100 percent. … I don’t think it was a bad decision on anybody’s part. It was more that we didn’t really know. We felt he was a go and so did he.”