Mike Green has skated only a handful of times since he suffered a concussion on Feb. 25, when he was hit by the Rangers’ Derek Stepan. While he skated in full pads again Monday for about 25 minutes, the defenseman has yet to take part in an entire practice with teammates or one that involves contact since the Rangers game.
The two-time Norris Trophy finalist said he is feeling better, but acknowledged that he was still experiencing symptoms.
“Here and there, but nothing that’s progressing to get worse — it’s always getting better,” Green said. “We’ve done a great job here with the trainers and the staff of taking the right procedures for me to get better. The unfortunate part is that it does take time. It’s nice to get a good skate and hopefully now I can get back on the ice and back playing with the team.”
Green wouldn’t speculate on when he might be able to return to the lineup for a game. When asked when he might practice with the team again, he only said that while he would like to work out with the team at some point this week, there’s no guarantee he will.
“There is a protocol that you have to follow,” Green said. “Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get out and do a full practice and get that under my belt so I can move forward and take some tests and get back in the game. There’s no way to tell. We’ll see how it goes this week.”
The NHL’s protocol for players to return after a concussion requires that they must first be symptom free at rest, symptom free with exertion (i.e. practice and workouts) and then must pass neuropsychological testing that evaluates if there are any remaining effects of the injury to the brain.
Last week, Coach Bruce Boudreau said he would like Green to take part in at least three good practices before the defenseman returns to game action. Green, who has missed 20 of the last 22 games since he was hit in the head by a puck and suffered a concussion on Feb. 6, agreed that he shouldn’t rush back into the lineup.
“I think it would be good” to get several practices in first, Green said. “I think it’s going to take some time to get back in shape. I haven’t skated for a long time. I’ll skate by myself here and hopefully get some practices in with the team and get comfortable again. I don’t want to rush into the game too much. I haven’t played for a while. I want to be in the best shape possible here going into the playoffs.”
Although Green said he hopes he’ll be able to practice this week, Boudreau wouldn’t offer any comment on a timeline following the defenseman’s workout on Monday.
“Those things have been so touchy. It’s such a touchy situation these days,” Boudreau said. “We’ll just go with whatever [head athletic trainer] Greg [Smith] says. “If it’s slower than he’d want, that’s unfortunate. If they feel that he’s ready to go, then he’ll be able to practice.”