Nicklas Backstrom's status still unclear with neck injury

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Nicklas Backstrom suffered a neck injury while spending the NHL lockout playing in Russia, and the Washington Capitals center’s status remains uncertain.

Backstrom was not on the ice Tuesday as 10 Capitals teammates skated at the practice facility. He was in the building after returning from the Kontinental Hockey League on Monday.

But general manager George McPhee said he could not provide injury updates for previously locked-out players until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified.

“There are some things we can talk about, some things we can’t, and we can’t talk about the fitness or health of any players until training camp,” McPhee said. “I’d be happy then.”

Alex Ovechkin was Backstrom’s teammate with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL and was there when he fell into the boards awkwardly Dec. 26.

“I think he’s doing well. It was not a dirty than was before,” Ovechkin said. “But sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy. We’ll see how it goes.”

Backstrom missed 40 games last season after suffering a concussion Jan. 3, 2012 on a hit from then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque. Bourque was suspended five games.

Backstrom played the final four games of the 2011-12 regular season and took part in 13 of the Caps’ 14 playoff games. He was suspended for one.

“I think it’s just a situation, you know, it’s contact game, it’s physical game,” Ovechkin said. “Even in KHL it’s very good level out there. Again, it happens. So nothing you can do.”

Ovechkin said it wasn’t a dirty hit that got Backstrom hurt this time.

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