Mike Green will be a game-time decision for Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils because of a lower-body injury, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said.
“He’s a veteran. It’s going to be his call,” Oates said. “It’s an injury where when you warm up for warm-up and the intensity of the games hits you maybe it improves just enough that you feel you can go.”
Green was on the ice about 20 minutes before teammates stepped on for the skate. He did not appear to be skating strenuously during his time on the ice and did not take defensive rushes.
“Just obviously taking it slowly but feeling good each day,” he said.
Green was hopeful he could play but deferred on a decision until after speaking with trainer Greg Smith.
“It’s frustrating but you gotta be smart. I’ve been through this before so I know what to do and what not to do,” Green said. “Just take it day by day here and hopefully I’ll feel good enough to go tonight.”
Green missed 41 games last season with a groin strain that became an abdominal tear. Asked what he learned from dealing with that injury, Green cited patience.
“I think that’s the biggest thing, mentally; I think that any injury it obviously takes time,” he said. “The more patient you can be and understanding the better off you’ll be in the end to do the right things to get back on the ice.”
Green confirmed he suffered the injury late in the Caps’ game at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Caps are prepared to go with seven defensemen if Green is deemed able to play against the Devils, Oates confirmed.
But signs from the morning skate pointed to a blue line without the 27-year-old. Line rushes went on without Green, as Karl Alzner worked alongside rookie Tomas Kundratek. John Carlson was with John Erskine and Jeff Schultz with Tom Poti.
Forward Brooks Laich (groin) spent his fifth straight day off the ice. Oates said Wednesday that Laich was doing off-ice exercises to build up strength.
Forward Marcus Johansson (upper body) was on the ice for the balance of the morning skate. He said he was feeling better by the day but had no kind of timeline on returning to game action.
“No, I don’t,” Johansson said. “I’m just taking it day-by-day and hopefully it will be a hundred percent soon, and that’s what we’re going for. We have no time or date or anything.”
Oates said previously that Johansson had been hampered by an injury for a while. He has missed the past four games.
The 22-year-old suffered a back injury while playing in Sweden during the NHL lockout.
Braden Holtby will make his fifth straight start in goal, facing the ageless Martin Brodeur.
The Caps stuck with the same lines from Sunday night’s loss at the New York Rangers:
Wojtek Wolski - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mike Ribeiro - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Tomas Kundratek
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Tom Poti