10:35 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014

Zdeno Chara has his work cut out for him to return to top form

BOSTON -- Sometimes one injury can derail a player's career. For someone like Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, missing 19 consecutive games due to a torn ligament in his left knee was foreign to him. Until he suffered this injury against the New York Islanders on Oct. 23 at TD Garden, the only other time Chara was out of the lineup during his Bruins career was a five-game stretch with a shoulder injury during the 2007-2008 season. That's pretty amazing, especially for a player who stands 6-foot-9 and weighs 255 pounds at age 37 with 1,143 NHL games under his belt.

Julien: Teams will be sad to see Chara back

BOSTON -- Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is on the verge of returning to the lineup, and it’s evident he’s ready to announce his presence with authority. The team’s top defenseman practiced Tuesday morning for the first time since tearing a ligament in his left knee on Oct. 23, and it’s likely he will be activated for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. During his 19-game absence, Chara has grown a playoff-style beard, and when asked about it after Tuesday’s practice, he did not respond.

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