Nicklas Backstrom: ‘I’m not 100 percent to skate’

In his first English interview since Jan. 6, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom told reporters that he believes he is making progress in his recovery from a concussion but that he doesn’t know when he will be able to play again.

“I’m not 100 percent to skate right now,” Backstrom said Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “We’ll see when it’s going to be time for me to hit the ice. Right now, I’m taking it day-by-day to see how I feel.”

Backstrom said he’s been riding the stationary bike but reiterated the slow-moving nature of this recovery process.

NHL protocols mandate that in order to return to play, he must be symptom free at rest, symptom free with exertion levels required for game-play and then reach his baseline level on a neuropsychological test before he is back in a game. Players undergo neuropsychological testing prior to the start of each season to establish a baseline.

“Lately I’ve been doing the bike,” Backstrom said. “So I think I’m improving, but the thing is, it takes time. But I’m on a good program now, hopefully I get better soon.”

Backstrom, 24, said he’s trying to be around the team every day now, which wasn’t always the case in the earliest stages in his recovery. In addition to his daily evaluations with head athletic trainer Greg Smith, over the past week Backstrom has attended games, hosted a Super Bowl party and has been interacting with his teammates. Backstrom is also traveling up to New York with the team today as part of the Capitals’ dads and mentors trip. His father Anders is in town for the event.

It’s been 39 days since Backstrom absorbed the elbow to his head from then-Calgary forward Rene Bourque that caused the concussion. Since then, Backstrom has missed 16 games and has only skated for five minutes in the past 36 days.

More from Post Sports:
Backstrom discusses recovery with Swedish newspaper
Rene Bourque elbows Backstrom (Jan. 4)
Backstrom skates in Washington two days after elbow (Jan. 5)
Backstrom skates in San Jose, prior to setback (Jan. 6)

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