Capitals defenseman Mike Green warms up before a game at Verizon Center on Jan. 3, one of just 10 contests he's played in this season. (Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Green skated for the third straight day on Thursday, which was also the first time he worked out in full pads and gear. While it’s still in the early stages of his recovery, that the defenseman was able to get on the ice two weeks after going under the knife is most assuredly a positive sign.

While no player likes to take the surgical route if they can avoid it, the lingering nature of Green’s groin problem and corresponding sports hernia made it impossible to determine when he might be healthy enough to return. Surgery gave him a firm timeframe of what to expect in the various stages of the recovery.

“I tried everything else not to go [through with surgery] and it just came to the point where it had to be done,” Green said in his first interview since the surgery. “I obviously didn’t want to, but I need to come back and play and that was the only way to come back quicker.”

Green has missed all but 10 of the Capitals’ 50 games this season because of injury, with 34 of the absences due to the groin problem. When the injury flared up during a game at San Jose on Jan. 7, it became clear that it wasn’t going away. Without a clear idea of how long it would take for Green to heal properly, the Capitals’ medical staff advised surgery.

“As much as I was doing and trying as hard as I could to come back, there was just something wrong,” Green said. “It’s comforting now that it’s fixed and I can tell right away. It’s just a matter of getting back in shape this healing up and I’ll be ready to go.”

Green, 26, is still in the early stages of his recovery but is “on the right path” and said he’s been able to feel an improvement already.

“Absolutely,” Green said. “About a week to 10 days after, I could feel the muscle actually firing and being able to move a lot better.”

Caps send Eakin to Hershey
The Capitals on Wednesday assigned center Cody Eakin to the Hershey Bears. While the team had space on the 23-man roster, another forward would have had to be a healthy scratch with Alex Ovechkin’s return from a three-game suspension.

Caps make a pair of AHL trades
Washington added some new faces to the organizational depth chart by acquiring defenseman Kevin Marshall from the Philadelphia Flyers for winger Matt Ford and center Mike Carman from the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Danny Richmond. Both Marshall and Carman will report to the Hershey Bears.

Marshall, 22, and listed at 6 foot 1, 207-pounds was a second-round draft pick for the Flyers in 2007. In 32 games for the Adirondack Phantoms this season, Marshall has two goals, five points and 55 penalty minutes.

Carman has recorded three goals and six points in 28 games for the Lake Erie Monsters. A third-round selection by the Avalanche in 2006, Carman, 23, is listed at 6 feet, 185 pounds.

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