The Washington Times - January 3, 2012, 10:32AM

It’s been a long time coming, but Mike Green is set to return to the Washington Capitals’ lineup on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames.

Green, who suffered a right groin strain Nov. 11, has missed the past 23 games and a total of 29 of the past 30, including a right ankle injury. Last week he was optimistic about returning soon.


“Yeah, I’m hoping next week,” he said. “It’s just good to be around the guys again and obviously skate and get back in the groove of things. It’s been frustrating watching hockey. It’s boring.”

Green will finally get a chance to play again, facing his hometown team. The 26-year-old isn’t too worried about getting back to normal, though that will take time.

“It’ll come back. It’s just a matter of getting that function back,” he said. “That’s just going to come with time. I’ve just got to be patient with that and adjust accordingly.”

The Caps are 8-0-0 with Green in the lineup, but players don’t want to view this as a magic elixir.

“I don’t think one guy’s going to make a team go 8-0,” John Erskine said last week. “It’d be nice to see him come back. He’s a big part of our team.”

The first game back might not mean 25 minutes, which is no surprise.

“I think that you got to ease yourself in,” Green told reporters Tuesday. “I don’t think I’m going to be jumping up all over the ice or what not. I think it’s important for me to get my game back and it’s better that I try to do that slowly rather than quickly. I don’t intend on being up and down the ice tonight. You got to get into game shape.”

Added coach Dale Hunter: “He’s been skating hard here for a while now. You see him after practices where he’s been skating, getting a lot of shots. So it’s more conditioning and we’ll monitor his ice time.”