(Justin K. Aller/Getty) (Justin K. Aller/Getty)

It’s still uncertain when Brooks Laich will begin skating again, but Coach Adam Oates said the Capitals expect that the forward will play this postseason.

Laich underwent sports hernia surgery earlier this month after re-injuring his groin on April 4 against the New York Islanders.

“He’s on the way to recovery right now and as soon as he can recover we’ll get him in,” Oates said. “You know how he is, he’s trying as hard as he can to get there and we’ve just got to be careful.”

Laich missed 39 games of the regular season with lingering groin problem after originally suffering the injury in November while playing in Switzerland during the NHL lockout. Before the 29-year-old returned for nine games beginning on March 19, he said the recovery process was one of the most trying things he’s experienced a player and that he “wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.”

Laich has a reputation for playing through injuries and a determination that borders on stubbornness when it comes to believing he can recover from any physical ailment with his work ethic alone.

When he aggravated the injury, though, it became clear that surgery was necessary. Oates believes that might have been an important message for Laich.

“I think it’s probably good for him,” Oates said. “That the Knute Rockne [speech] doesn’t work. Your body was letting you down. We finally made a decision and now it’s time to move forward. I think it’s probably clearer in his mind now because the unknown’s tough.”