Updated, 12:14 p.m.
Players were on the ice for the first practice of training camp for only about 10 minutes when Brooks Laich suddenly left the ice and headed into the dressing room with a strained left hip flexor.
Laich, 30, said the injury is completely unrelated to the lingering groin problem that required surgery and kept him out of the lineup for all but nine days last season. Rather, Laich suffered the injury when he first skated at KCI on Sept. 5 after returning to Washington.
Even so it’s discouraging to see Laich unable to complete the first practice session of a year that was supposed to be a fresh, healthy start for him.
“It was actually my first day back in D.C. Something I noticed is that the ice here is a lot softer than the ice I skated on back home, and when I skated here I just tweaked it a little bit,” said Laich, who took four days off from skating after he initially noticed the discomfort. He skated Tuesday, completed fitness testing and went through an acupuncture session Wednesday but felt enough pain today to take himself out of practice.
There is no timetable for Laich to be back on the ice, but he hopes that this won’t keep him out of practices and exhibition games for too long.
“Yesterday I had a big, really aggressive acupuncture session and today I had a little inflammation from that, a little soreness from that,” Laich said. It “could have contributed to some of the pain out there. So now it’s going to be a day-by-day thing. It’s not a thing that I’m really concerned about, it should come back fairly quickly and once I start to feel really good off the ice I’ll go back on the ice.”
General Manager George McPhee said he wasn’t overly concerned about Laich’s injury. “It doesn’t seem serious,” McPhee said. “Hopefully a day or two.”
Laich emphasized that this unfortunately-timed injury isn’t related to the frustrating ones he spent all last season and the offseason working to overcome. The veteran forward said that as he worked through his summer training program, he felt completely healthy roughly four weeks before he traveled back to Washington.
“The other side of my body, the other thing I went through last year is 100 percent. I have no inhibition, fear. I have full power, full flexibility, stride, everything,” Laich said. “I was feeling great as of one week ago at 100 percent and to have this come on — it’s better now, I guess, than at the start of the season. But we’ll take care of it now and hopefully get over it very quickly and have some exhibition games and practices very soon.”