With eight games remaining in the regular season, the chance of Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green returning from a concussion in time for the playoffs is uncertain, Coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday.
Green has missed 18 of the past 20 games since he was hit in the head by a puck on Feb. 6 against Pittsburgh, and he hasn’t taken part in a full practice since he suffered another concussion when the Rangers’ Derek Stepan hit him in the head on Feb. 25. The good news, Boudreau said, is that Green said he is feeling better. That doesn’t mean the two-time Norris Trophy finalist is ready to play yet, and there is no timetable for his return.
“In a perfect world, we’d like to get him back for the last couple games,” Boudreau said. “I think this week will indicate this — by Monday, we’ll know whether we’ll be able to or not.
“We want him in at least three practices — good practices — before we ever put him in a game — minimum,” Boudreau said. “Quite frankly, I play him when [head athletic trainer] Greg Smith says he’s OK to play.”
NHL concussion protocol is players must be symptom free and pass neuropsychological testing before coming back.
Green has been taking part in off-ice workouts this week and skated while the team was on the road last week, but Boudreau emphasized that the Capitals want to make sure that Green is completely healthy before playing him.
“We’re not going to say, ‘Oh, he’s feeling good, let’s put him in,’” Boudreau said. “I told him again today, I said, ‘Mike, we just want you to get better. I want you to play but I want you to get better.’ He was saying how good he felt and I said that’s a fabulous sign.”