The Washington Times - February 16, 2012, 01:51PM

Cautious optimism seems to be the vibe around Mike Green and the Washington Capitals this week. With Mike Knuble expressing frustration about not being in the lineup and the team having no real idea when Nicklas Backstrom will be back, Green’s imminent return is a silver lining of sorts.

What we know is that Green, who has skated two full practices now on his way back from sports hernia surgery, is going on the road trip with the Caps, leaving Thursday for Fort Lauderdale. Beyond that, he should play soon, but how soon is uncertain.

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“It could be this weekend. We’ll see,” general manager George McPhee said Thursday. “We’ve discussed it a lot and we’ll discuss it again tomorrow and see where he is, see how he feels after today.”

The wait and see approach has worked with Green so far, as he started skating two weeks after the Jan. 17 operation and made steady progress since.

The defenseman who hasn’t played since Jan. 7 and has been in only 10 games this season was upbeat this week about his recovery.

“I’ve talked to a lot of guys. This is a common injury and a lot of guys go through it unfortunately,” he said Tuesday. “But I talked to a few guys and they had reassured me that it takes some time. It’ll come. But it’s definitely going to be better and that made me comfortable.”

Green might be a long shot to play Friday night at the Florida Panthers, but with four games on the upcoming trip, expect to see him in one of them, barring a setback.