Kelly (broken ankle) skates prior to Bruins practice, but ‘not close to returning’

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On Monday, Chris Kelly skated prior to practice for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in early December — but B’s head coach Claude Julien said not to read too much into it.

“He started skating a few days ago last week,” Julien said, per CSNNE.com. “He just started skating on his own. He’s not close to returning here. We’re not talking days here. There is still lots of time for him to heal. It’s more about getting him to stay positive.

“It’s a frustrating injury that’s going to take a while.”

Kelly suffered the broken ankle on a Pascal Dupuis slash on Dec. 7. He was given a 4-6 week window for a return to action and, having already missed 16 games, appears to be inching closer and closer to a return. According to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, it’s possible Kelly could get back into the lineup by the end of next week, though he still requires medical clearance and at least a few practices with the B’s.

The 33-year-old Kelly had three goals and¬†seven points through 29 games this year, and was one of Boston’s top penalty-killing forwards prior to getting hurt.