The Washington Times - January 17, 2012, 11:54AM

On Tuesday morning Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee addressed reporters to talk about Mike Green’s abdominal surgery and a couple other topics. Here is the full transcript:

Why now and not when injury first happened?


George McPhee: “The doctor who was doing the surgery didn’t think it was necessary at that time. You always want to take the conservative approach with athletes and any human being, I guess. You never want to open anybody up to surgery if it’s not necessarily, and so you always take the conservative approach. We did, and parts of it went real well and one part didn’t go so well, so we need to repair the one area. It will now eliminate the unknown. Sometimes when you take the conservative approach it takes a while and you don’t really know when the player’s going to be ready. With this procedure, we know when the player should be ready.”

What progress did Green make and what led to this?

“It’s basically a sports hernia, but there were a couple parts to it – one was a tendon issue and one was a little tear in the stomach. The tendon healed just fine. But the hole didn’t close up, so we just need to close that thing up.”

Did he aggravate the injury in San Jose?

“No. I don’t know that he re-tore it or anything like that. It’s never really healed to the point where he can play with it effectively.”

Does this take care of it? This won’t be something that goes beyond?

“We don’t think so. This doctor has done some of our players in the past and done real well – Jamie Heward, Chris Clark. We think he’s the best at this particular surgery. Our medical staff obviously consulted with him early on with Mike. The consensus of the group and the doctor was let’s go conservative, initially. And that didn’t work out, so now you get a more aggressive approach. Hopefully there’s some finality to it and he’s ready to go in four to six [weeks]. Certainly our history with this has been, after the surgery the player’s skating in a couple of weeks and then from there on out, if the player really works at it and things go well, he could be ready in four. And the outside is six.”

Surgery today?



“It’s Dr. Brunt, B-r-u-n-t.”

Can you explain what the procedure is?

“Other than to say they put some mesh in there to make the stomach lining stronger. It’s been done a lot the last 10 or 15 years, I guess. A lot of players are having it done when they have these issues. Some doctors have gotten really good at it. We think Dr. Brunt is the best.”

How long until Green skates?

“Well skating is hopefully a couple of weeks and then the earliest is four weeks; the outside is six.”

Pretty confident this is something Green won’t have to deal with again?

“Well, we hope not. We’ve actually had one of our coaches had it done, too. Dean Evason had it done years ago and it made a big difference.”

How is this different from Tom Poti’s groin and why surgery in this case and not for Poti?

“Different injuries. And with respect to Tom there was, I think, from what I understand, at some point there was a fracture in his pelvis. He got hit hard enough and sometimes that leads to the instability and never really gets back to where you want it to be. It’s rare. But unfortunately with Tom, that’s what’s happened.”

Is Poti still fighting to come back?

“Yes, he is. Tom’s been working at it and improving. But I don’t know if he’ll ever get to the point where he can play again. That would be great, but I just said in the summer we weren’t counting on it.”

Timing of Green surgery with trade deadline?

“We made the move last year to acquire Dennis Wideman because Mike was down, and obviously Dennis has come in and being very productive for us. I don’t know how that would affect anything six weeks from now; we’ll just have to see.”

Is this opportunity to see how the rookie defensemen [Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek] handle the NHL?

“Well, yeah. It’s interesting how things go. Mike went down early and we gave Orlov a chance and he’s exceeded our expectations. We thought he would need a full year in Hershey and he’s sort of expedited his development process and he’s playing very well for us. And Kundratek is in the same sort of situation right now; we’ll see how he comes along.”

How’s Nicklas Backstrom doing?

“Nick’s doing really well. He feels good. I’m, I guess, happy to report that he’s progressing.”

Out till All-Star break?

“Not necessarily. Whenever he’s ready to get going, we’ll get him going. But obviously we’re going to be real careful because we want this to be a one time thing and something we never have to worry about again.”