The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Brooks Orpik has wrist surgery, expected back for start of regular season

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Defenseman Brooks Orpik had wrist surgery Tuesday morning, the Washington Capitals announced in a news release, which called the procedure “successful.”

“Based on the nature of this procedure, we anticipate Brooks returning to full hockey activities in time for the Capitals regular season opener,” the release continued. “Brooks will resume full workout activities in approximately two weeks.”

Given that the Capitals open the 2015-16 season, Orpik’s second with the club, on Oct. 10 at home against the New Jersey Devils, a return by that date seems reasonable if Orpik can indeed return to workouts midway through August. Still, questions remain, like how the actual injury occurred. His agent, Lewis Gross, did not return a message seeking comment and the Capitals declined beyond the release.

Orpik, who will turn 35 years old on Sept. 26, is expected to continue skating on Washington’s top defensive pairing beside John Carlson. Last summer, he signed a five-year, $27.75 million contract.

Orpik joins forward Nicklas Backstrom as current players recovering from offseason operations. Backstrom, the projected top-line center, had arthroscopic hip surgery earlier this summer, which could jeopardize his status for the start of the season.

Last season, Orpik appeared in 78 games for the Capitals, finishing with 19 assists — the second-best total of his 12-year career — and leading the team in hits. He also finished second in both penalty kill minutes and even-strength minutes logged per game.