Capitals defenseman Mike Green was one of four players who took part in an optional skate Saturday morning at the Tampa Times Forum.

It marked the fifth straight day he’s been on the ice working out with teammates but Green’s status remains uncertain. Green underwent sports hernia surgery on Jan. 17 and appears to be nearing a return to the lineup but it’s unclear precisely when.

“I’m starting to feel good and getting back to my feel on the ice and I feel healthy,” Green said. “For me, at least, it’s about my feel on the ice. If I have that feeling where I feel like I can play and move in my hands and my shot, I’ll be effective. If not, then I won’t.”

Coach Dale Hunter would only say that Green is a game-time decision for tonight’s tilt against the Lightning, but don’t read too much into that statement. While Green expressed optimism about his progress, it’s tough to truly gauge whether he’s ready to make the jump back into a game.

Whenever Green does return, look for the Capitals to ease him back into the lineup and possibly use seven defensemen to ease his workload.

A few other notes from the optional skate after the jump.

— Along with Green, Michal Neuvirth, John Erskine and Keith Aucoin all took part in the skate with the assistant coaches. None of the players who participated in Friday’s 2-1 win over Florida skated.

— Troy Brouwer blocked a shot by Florida’s Mike Weaver 4 minutes 14 seconds into the third period Friday night, but Hunter said the winger is fine. “Just a bruise,” Hunter said, adding that he expected Brouwer to play against the Lightning.

— Matheiu Garon will start for Tampa Bay tonight against the Capitals. In his only appearance against Washington this season, Garon made 26 saves in a 4-3 overtime win for the Lightning on Jan. 31.

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