Nicklas Backstrom is visiting a specialist in Michigan after suffering a neck injury while playing in the Kontinental Hockey League during the lockout, a Capitals spokesman confirmed.
Backstrom has not played since suffering the injury on Dec. 26 in a game for Dynamo Moscow. The Swedish center returned to North America on Sunday and was at the Capitals’ training facility in Arlington Monday, but has since traveled to Michigan.
“Nick and his agent informed us that they are being proactive with his injury and decided to visit a specialist prior to training camp,” Capitals spokesman Sergey Kocharov said. “Obviously, as you know until camp officially starts teams cannot perform physicals on any player.”
The news of Backstrom seeing a specialist was first reported by local blog Russian Machine Never Breaks.
On Tuesday, General Manager George McPhee said he couldn’t discuss Backstrom’s health until the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified and the center was examined by team medical personnel. If Backstrom does not pass his training camp physical, the Capitals will not have to pay him because he was injured during the lockout.
Backstrom, of course, missed 40 games last season with a concussion after being struck by Rene Bourque’s elbow on Jan. 3, 2012. Alex Ovechkin, who played with Backstrom on Dynamo Moscow during the lockout, said Tuesday that the center experienced dizziness following this latest injury.
“It was not a dirty [hit] than was before,”‘ Ovechkin said Tuesday. “But sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy. We’ll see how it goes.”