Mike Green said he will play Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets, but for the second straight day Coach Adam Oates expressed some caution and said the defenseman will be a game-time decision.
Green has missed 10 straight games and 13 of the past 15 with a nagging groin injury and while his addition would certainly be a boost to the lineup, the Capitals need to be confident that he’s truly ready to return.
“To me, ready to play is you’re ready to play every night,” Oates said. “It’s not playoffs where we can get a day’s rest in between. You’ve got to be able play both nights.”
All seven defensemen on the trip came off the ice among those expecting to play Thursday morning and Oates said all seven will take warmup. In order to activate Green from injured reserve to face the Jets, the Capitals would need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for him on the 23-man roster.
At this stage it’s unclear what that move will be. Both Steve Oleksy and Dmitry Orlov are waiver exempt but given how injuries have piled up on the blue line, the Capitals likely want to have at least one extra defenseman at the ready.
Green, 27, skated without any limitation Thursday morning at MTS Centre in Winnipeg and said he made his case to Oates and the Capitals’ training staff that he’s no longer limited in his movements.
“That’s the only thing that’s been holding me out, not being able to move. Now that I’ve got my mobility back I’m good,” Green said. “It’s just limiting. I didn’t have the mobility I need to play and when that’s missing it’s very tough, especially with the speed of the game. It was just a matter of me getting that back and now that I do I’m ready.”