Last season, defenseman Mike Green missed 41 games with a nagging groin injury that resulted in an abdominal tear and eventually required sports hernia surgery. For the first portion of Green’s absence with the injury, he tried several non-invasive routes from traditional physical therapy methods to electrical stimulation. But Green was never able to recover fully and surgery became necessary.
“I talked to him early on in the year, the sound of it, it’s one of those things — the same thing I had — where it wasn’t able to be rehabbed to 100 percent,” Green said. “At some point you just gotta make a decision. It’s unfortunate that he’s going through what he’s going through right now.”
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Green, 27, underwent surgery on Jan. 17, 2012 and was able to return to Washington’s lineup a month later. Washington’s top defenseman admitted that accepting the need for surgery was difficult at the time but realizes now that he’s much better off for going through with the procedure.
“I beat myself up about it,” Green said. “If I would have tried to battle through that then it could have been years. I’ve talked to him about it, the progress and success I’ve had with mine over the course of two months, three months after I had [surgery]. He’s going to go through the same thing, but it’s night and day when you come out of there with it feeling like that — or fixed at least.”
In mid-March before playing a game, Laich called his rehabilitation from the groin injury the most difficult challenge he faced in his eight-year NHL career. “It's been a long, long process,” Laich said March 12. “Something I never, ever wanna go through again. Ever.”
While Green has told Laich about the positive impact surgery had on his health, the defenseman doesn’t know how his teammate will approach the decision.
“You know Brooks, he’s hard-headed,” said Green, who understands how tough it is for any player to sit out with the playoffs on the horizon. “I gave him my info, but who knows how he takes it? He’s got one vision and that’s in his own head.
“He’s got to believe that we’re going to do our job to make sure we make a run here,” Green added. “As long as he does his job he’ll be back, and we’ll still be playing hockey when he’s back.”