The Washington Times - January 16, 2012, 05:18PM

Putting Mike Green on long-term injured reserve last week, the Washington Capitals ensured he would be out until at least Feb. 1. But even that was considered a long shot.

Now, he’ll be out until at least mid-February and likely longer, as the defenseman will undergo abdominal surgery and miss four to six weeks, the team announced Monday.

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Green has played in just 10 games this season due to a combination of an ankle injury and groin injury. Abdominal surgery is to repair the groin problem. The Caps are 9-1-0 with Green in the lineup.

The 26-year-old All-Star defenseman twisted his right ankle Oct. 22 and returned Nov. 11 at the New Jersey Devils. He suffered a right groin strain in the first period of that game, playing only 7:10.

He returned Jan. 3 against the Calgary Flames and skated 15:43, though he was hard on himself about taking two penalties and being “not even close” to top form. He aggravated the groin injury a few days later at the San Jose Sharks and was removed after playing just 7:11.

Green has not skated since and was placed on LTIR last week. The Caps receive a salary cap exemption for his hit of $5.25 million as a result. The day after that roster move, coach Dale Hunter shook off a question about surgery being an option.

“He’s going to rehab here and get it stronger,” Hunter said Jan. 13.

He’s eligible to come off LTIR on Feb. 1, but that timeline has been pushed back by the announcement of this surgery. It’s uncertain if the four-to-six-week projection is conservative. General manager George McPhee was not immediately available to comment.