Boston Bruins centre Marc Savard has been medically cleared to play during the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
General manager Peter Chiarelli made the announcement in a media conference call on Tuesday, saying Savard passed a neurological exam administered the previous day.
Boston eliminated the Buffalo Sabres on Monday in the sixth game of the Eastern Conference quarter-final.
Savard, the top playmaker on a team that has struggled offensively, has not played since March 7 after getting hit from the side by Matt Cooke of the Penguins.
"He's an elite player, and he's been champing at the bit to play," Chiarelli said.
Savard, who battled knee and foot injuries earlier in the season, suffered a Grade 2 concussion and was unable to exercise for weeks.
Chiarelli said it will be up to coach Claude Julien when and how to incorporate the 32-year-old back into the lineup.
The Bruins' opponent in the next series depends on the outcome of the Washington-Montreal series, which will be decided in a Game 7 on Wednesday night. If the Capitals win, Boston will face the Penguins. Should they lose, Philadelphia would provide the competition.
Led last year
Savard tied with teammate Michael Ryder to lead Boston with 13 points in the playoffs last year. He totalled 33 points in 41 regular-season games in 2009-10.
A win by Montreal, would result in an extra home game for the Bruins in a series against the Flyers. But Chiarelli wouldn't admit to rooting for the Canadiens.
"I had more of a rooting interest when we were down the stretch trying to get in the playoffs, on certain matchups and certain games," he told CBCSports.ca.
The other possibility sees Cooke on the opposing team when Savard makes his return.
"If anything I think it will motivate us," said Chiarelli. "I think our group is pretty focused right now. I know it will be talked about in the media and be one of the main storylines, but I don't think it will be too much of a distraction."
Chiarelli said the team doesn't expect Mark Stuart to return this round. The defenceman suffered a finger injury late in the season.