(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Brooks Laich participated fully in the Capitals’ practice Saturday morning in Arlington and will travel with the team to Buffalo in the afternoon, but whether the veteran forward will be able to suit up in a game remains to be seen.

Laich has missed 12 of the last 13 games with a lingering groin problem that stems from an injury he originally suffered while playing in Switzerland during last year’s NHL lockout. He returned to the lineup on Dec. 23 against Anaheim after missing 11 straight contests but experienced some discomfort the next day and sat out against the Rangers on Friday.

Asked if this is just a hiccup for Laich, Coach Adam Oates was unable to say definitively.

“I want to say yeah,” Oates said. “I hope so, I hope so for his sake. It’s hard sitting out. It’s hard being hurt a long time; it’s very difficult. You get excited, you feel good, you go play and then the next day it’s not quite right [and] you start to doubt yourself and all the things that go in that direction. So I hope so for his sake.”

This week certainly has a different tone of a recovery for Laich than last season or even earlier in December when the 30-year-old wasn’t able to even take the ice with his teammates. He worked through an entire 45-minute practice Saturday but how Laich feels Sunday morning will determine when or if he plays in back-to-back games this weekend.

>> Michael Latta, who is on long-term injured reserve with a lower body injury, will not travel with the team. He did work through a full practice Saturday, though, and said he’s gradually feeling better.

>> All three goaltenders will make the trip to Buffalo but Oates said there had been no final decision on which netminder would start against the Sabres.

>> The Caps stayed with the same lines and defensive pairings as they used against the Rangers.


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