Although Mike Green’s status for Friday's game in New Jersey remains questionable, the defenseman appears to be nearing his return to the Capitals’ lineup after missing the past six games with an injured right ankle.

“I’m getting better each day. Finally, I think I’m getting close,” Green said. “We’ll see what the docs say today and tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau said he is “more optimistic every day” when it comes to the possibility of Green returning to the lineup. Green spent the bulk of Washington’s practice session Thursday skating with Roman Hamrlik, his defense partner for the majority of the season, which seemed to be a positive sign.

The two-time Norris Trophy finalist did not participate in the team’s power play drills, but he watched the unit work through various sets. That said, Boudreau doesn’t believe there will be much of an adjustment period for Green whenever he is back in a game.

“I don’t think there would be that much of an adjustment for Mike,” Boudreau said. “Erskie was out for eight months and was fine. Mike’s been practicing pretty strong with us for this week and he knows the way we play, so I think he’ll be Ok with it.”

Green said taking part in the Capitals’ tough Wednesday practice, filled with bag skates and battle drills, was a good opportunity for him to gauge his recovery before the back-to-back games against the Devils.

“It was a tough practice. I felt good, my wind was good, my legs felt good, just a matter of me making sure I’m strong with my injury,” Green said. “Hopefully it’s tomorrow, I’m hoping.”