RALEIGH, N.C. — Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos had surgery on his left thigh on Thursday and he’ll be out indefinitely, the team announced. Djoos got hurt playing against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, and after he missed Wednesday’s practice, complications arose from the injury, eventually leading to the surgery.
“A really unexpected situation,” Coach Todd Reirden said. “He’ll be away from our team for a while. We’re just concerned about his health here moving forward and wishing him the best here.”
Asked whether the injury could be season-ending, Reirden said, “No, I don’t think we’re ready to go there yet, but it’s probably going to be a substantial number of weeks. Tough situation for our team and the player as well.”
Djoos had appeared in 28 games this season after playing in 63 last season as a rookie, skating alongside veteran Brooks Orpik as the team’s third pairing in the Capitals’ playoff run to the Stanley Cup. Now both players are sidelined; Orpik will miss his 21st straight game on Friday night after he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee three weeks ago. Orpik started skating this week, but he hasn’t practiced with the team yet, so it’s unclear how much longer he’ll be out. Washington’s third pairing for the foreseeable future will be Madison Bowey, who has played in 72 NHL games, and rookie Jonas Siegenthaler, who has five games of experience.
The Capitals aren’t expected to recall an extra defenseman on Friday, but they’re expected to do so on Saturday, before the team plays the Buffalo Sabres in the second game of a back-to-back set. Washington’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey also has a banged-up blueline, but Tyler Lewington, a seventh-round draft pick in 2013, is expected to be recalled.
Tom Wilson returns
There also is some good news on the injury front for the Capitals: right wing Tom Wilson will be back in the lineup on Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Wilson has missed the past three games with a concussion, the second of his career, and he’s expected to skate alongside center Evgeny Kuznetsov and left wing Jakub Vrana.
Before getting hurt, Wilson had scored eight goals with six assists while on a top line with center Nicklas Backstrom and captain Alex Ovechkin, but Coach Todd Reirden chose to keep T.J. Oshie with those two after the trio had a strong performance against the Red Wings. Putting Wilson, Kuznetsov and Vrana together means three of the Capitals’ fastest players will skate alongside each other.
“A couple times in practice yesterday, I thought I was kind of ahead of the play and all of a sudden, [Vrana] was right beside me,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to get used to playing with that speed. It’s world-class, and it’s exciting play with two guys like that. I’ll get them the puck and they’re pretty creative with it.”