Ference

Ference

The best way to describe Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference’s situation right now is that he was ahead of schedule and now he’s back working in the timeframe of his initial prognosis from after he broke his foot Nov. 13 and then had surgery to repair the fractured tibia.

Originally, Ference was supposed to be out, in a worst-case scenario, eight to 10 weeks. He started light skating just after Christmas, and even joined the team for some full workouts for a few days around New Year’s. But he suffered a setback Jan. 5, when he left practice before its completion.

Now Ference is back to skating on his own before his teammates and progressing toward a return within the original timetable.

“Not bad,” he said today about how he feels after he skated at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. “It’s still not super great. I kind of took some big steps and now it’s been baby steps for the last little bit. I’m not ready to do the hard drills yet. So I’m kind of waiting for that, the next step.”

When he first had the surgery, Ference said he thought that was the best way to go. Nothing has changed his opinion.

“I still definitely feel that way. I was able to skate and work out fairly early. So I don’t know if it’d be the exact same if I didn’t get it done,” he said. “But I feel good about the rehab, and solid about it, and it feels good. You definitely have to be at a pretty high level before you play hockey in the NHL. It’s one thing to feel good and healed up from the surgery, but it’s a whole other thing to get back to a level where you’re playing good professional hockey.”

Ference left with the Bruins for their two-game road trip to Long Island and Washington. He’s scheduled to do some skating and other workouts with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides, who is also making the trip. And Ference said his goal is to get into some line drills by next week.