Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is inching closer to a return. He participated fully in Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Arena, and, though coach Bruce Cassidy said he won’t play Thursday against Washington, McAvoy could get back in the lineup on Saturday in Toronto.
The nature of McAvoy’s injury finally was disclosed. He blocked a shot in the B’s 4-0 victory in Montreal on Dec. 17, and the puck broke the skin on his foot, a cut that required stitches. He played through it for three more games but developed an infection during the holiday break that knocked him out of commission.
“Just tried to get through it (until the break), and we were excited for those three days for it to heal,” McAvoy said. “And then, around the 24th, 25th, it showed signs of infection, and I came back to Boston. Got on top of it right away with antibiotics. Our doctors did a great job of getting on top of it right away. Unfortunately I had to cut my time short with my family, but it was good to get on top of it because I didn’t really know much about it.
“But (David) Backes has gone through it, (David Pastrnak) has gone through it. Ultimately, it could have been way worse, but I’m fortunate to have the doctors be really sharp on it and have our trainers care for it it as good as they have and ultimately avoid a bigger scare.”
McAvoy said he finished his antibiotics a couple of days ago.
He hasn’t played since the Bruins’ 5-3 road loss to Carolina, which is a bad memory. It was McAvoy’s worst professional game, as he struggled to a minus-4 rating. But he said he was good to go that evening.
“We were using numbing shots, and it was pretty painful, but there was no doubt I was playing. We were playing well, and I felt like I was playing well,” McAvoy said. “But I think it was the culmination of a couple of things, playing back-to-back, a little bit of fatigue. Obviously some pain, but that one is long behind me now, and I’m just looking forward to the next game I can play in.”
During this latest stint on the shelf with an injury that was somewhat of a mystery, a murky story line emerged about McAvoy’s habits around the rink. It started with a Carpool Karaoke-type bit from NBCSN in which Brad Marchand joked that McAvoy needs an alarm clock. Harmless enough, right? The guess here is if Marchand or anyone else had a serious issue with McAvoy’s behavior, it would not be fodder in that type of forum.
But the next thing you knew, fair or not, McAvoy was being labeled some sort of a problem child in certain corners. The 21-year-old did concede he has much to learn about being a pro, but the issue — if it can be called that — seems to have been blown out of proportion.
“There was definitely a learning opportunity, and I’m trying to be receptive of that. And I think I am. I don’t think it was a big thing that was going on. I think everyone figured that out when people were surprised to even hear about such a thing,” McAvoy said. “But we had a conversation among the young guys and the veterans and, like I’ve said before, we’re very fortunate to have them.