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T.J. Oshie’s back has long been a concern. He’s trying not to think about it.

“I am not thinking about my back or what I have to do for it,” T.J. Oshie said. “I just play and I have fun out there playing.” (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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LAS VEGAS — The many injuries T.J. Oshie has dealt with over the past few years have taken him out of the lineup for prolonged stretches and forced him to do extensive rehab work. This season, the Washington Capitals forward has played through a back injury that has long been an issue.

“It is kind of a reality with where I am at in my career,” he said. “The last four times I’ve went out [of the lineup], it’s been for the same thing dating back to last year — and there’s even one stint before that. So it is something that I’ve got to deal with, and if I stay on top of it, then it will be just fine.”

Oshie already has hurt his back twice this season. And while there is concern that his injury will flare up if he keeps playing, the 36-year-old is trying not to dwell on that possibility.

“I am not thinking about my back or what I have to do for it,” said Oshie, who is in his 15th NHL season. “I just play, and I have fun out there playing. For every game, regular season or playoffs, I’m typically doing what I can contribute to get a win that night.”

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Oshie’s first injury this season occurred Oct. 29 at the Nashville Predators when he pulled up while chasing the puck in the offensive zone. After he got to the bench, he had to be helped down the tunnel to the dressing room. He was unable to travel with the team after the game and spent the night in Nashville receiving treatment.

His recovery was slow, and he missed 11 games before he returned Nov. 23. Oshie then helped Washington go 9-3-1 before he was injured again Dec. 17 vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs.

That night, Oshie was on the backcheck when he pulled up in clear discomfort. He did not come back into the game, then missed six games before returning Jan. 3 against the Buffalo Sabres.

“He’s always working to try to get back in the lineup and be a positive influence for us,” Coach Peter Laviolette said Saturday morning. “It’s nice to see him in there now and play some games and hopefully that will continue.”

Oshie, who is in the sixth season of an eight-year, $46 million contract, has missed 55 games because of injury or illness over the past two seasons. He remains confident that his physical, gritty style can help him maintain his place in the NHL. Oshie entered Washington’s game Saturday night in Las Vegas with nine goals and seven assists in 31 games.

“I had two tough stints out of the lineup … but right now, I feel real good,” he said. “I’m pretty happy with my game. I’ve been working pretty hard to help create stuff and play the right way and try to lead by example, as far as effort and playing our systems.”

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He said he has done “a lot” of work off the ice to make sure he and his back can withstand the second half of the season. Some of that work means more time away from his kids, doing exercises and receiving treatment at night and early in the morning.

“It is a lot,” he said. “I have to do a lot of extra work, but I don’t feel too bad for myself. I think about [former Capitals defenseman] Brooks Orpik when he was my age — he had stuff. For 15 years in the NHL, you are going to have stuff that bothers you, and so [Orpik] handled it really well and was on top of his stuff. … This is part of getting old, and in our sport you have to do a little bit more as you get older. And it is no different with me.”