Given the number of injured defensemen on the Washington Capitals’ roster these days, the coaches and team obviously want to get them back into the lineup as soon as possible. That growing list of injuries, however, doesn’t mean that the Capitals are going to rush defenseman Mike Green back into the lineup.
Green took part in a very light, optional practice Friday and afterward said he is no longer experiencing any symptoms of his concussion. This positive step comes with Dennis Wideman out indefinitely and in the hospital with a hematoma and compartment syndrome in his leg; Tom Poti still testing his injured groin; and John Erskine having left Thursday’s game with an undisclosed injury that Coach Bruce Boudreau insisted is not a long-term problem.
Boudreau said that none of those circumstances will result in the Capitals bringing Green back before he’s ready.
“I think you want him to come back, but you’re fighting yourself because you’ve got to do the right thing,” Boudreau said. “When he’s ready, he’ll come back – not before. No matter what happens.”
When asked about his chances of playing in one of the four remaining regular-season games after the practice session, Green said that while he is anxious to return, his ultimate goal is to make sure he is completely ready for the postseason.
“I understand now that it takes time and patience,” Green said. “There is no point in rushing things here before playoffs. I think that it’s more important that we’ve been doing what we’re doing. The training staff has done a great job of helping me get back. It’s just a matter of me being ready for playoffs.”
Green said the only remaining step would be for him to get back into hockey shape. That will still take a little bit of time, though.
“I’m still where I want to be as far as physical shape, but any time you’re off the ice, you don’t use your skating muscles; it takes time to get back in the flow of things,” Green said. “It only takes about four or five days to get your feel back, and this is day one.”