Bruins

Bruins’ David Pastrnak nearing a return, took practice contact for first time on Monday

"The closer it gets, the harder it gets."

David Pastrnak is nearing a return for the Bruins. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

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Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak understandably can’t wait to get back on the ice in a real game.

The wait feels more interminable now according to Pastrnak, who underwent a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair in September. Pastrnak spoke to media via Zoom on Monday after taking contact for the first time in practice and noted how difficult rehab can be when the finish line is so close.

“The closer it gets, the harder it gets,” Pastrnak said. “This is the hardest part for an athlete, being hurt and not able to play, especially when the season is going. It’s hard to watch the game as a player because you just want to get out there and play. … My focus is to get back out there and get back into games ASAP.”

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Still, Pastrnak has to wait a little longer. According to Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Pastrnak probably won’t play in either of Boston’s upcoming games against the Pittsburgh Penguins. When the Bruins take the road, however, Pastrnak could travel.

“Took contact, which was the next step in his progression,” Cassidy said. “This week we’ll see how he handles that. Then, if it goes well and he wakes up and the next day, depending on how much contact he needs, doesn’t feel any after-effects — then we’ll consider putting him in the lineup.

“I don’t suspect he’ll play any of these home games, but he’ll probably travel with us and go from there.”

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For two months following his surgery, Pastrnak was unable to participate in any physical activity whatsoever.

“I always look on the positive side,” Pastrnak said. “I got to know my body really, really well. Obviously did a lot of bodyweight workouts and preparation. I like that I got to know my body better but the hardest part for me was definitely the first two months when I really couldn’t do anything and just believe in the process.”

Pastrnak, who turns 25 in May, scored a league-high 48 goals and finished with 95 points last season. The Bruins will be thrilled to welcome back their young star, especially now that his body is fully healthy again.

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“I’m so happy I’ve done it,” Pastrnak said about his procedure. “It’s wonderful skating on the ice now pain-free.”

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