- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marcus Johansson can’t say much about the upper-body injury that has kept him out for the Washington Capitals’ past five games. But the forward was able to skate Wednesday and Thursday and noted at least some progress.

“It’s getting better and better every day, I think,” Johansson said. “It was fun being out there today. I miss skating a lot. It felt good.”

Johansson, who hasn’t played since Feb. 7 at the Pittsburgh Penguins, is out indefinitely.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day and hopefully it will be 100 percent soon, and that’s what we’re going for,” he said. “We have no time or date or anything.”

Coach Adam Oates said Johansson had been dealing with the injury for a long time.

“It’s been awhile,” the 22-year-old said.

Johansson reportedly suffered a back injury while playing for BIK Karlskoga in Sweden’s second-tier league, Allsvenskan, during the NHL lockout.

He skated along with teammates during Thursday’s morning skate but did not appear to be pressing too hard.

“It was his first practice, back with the guys,” Oates said. “I thought he did a pretty good job and he said he felt pretty good.”

The Caps continue to list Johansson as day-to-day despite Wednesday being his first time on the ice with any teammates in well over a week. Defenseman Jack Hillen, who general manager George McPhee said recently would be out six to eight weeks, is also called day-to-day by the team.

At least Hillen has something of a timeline. Johansson must be careful not to rush back and make his injury worse.

“I’m out right now, and if it happens again maybe I’m out for a longer time,” Johansson said. “You never know. I just want to make sure everything is all right before I play again. Hopefully as soon as possible. I miss playing and that’s what I want to do every day. It’s tough, but it’s necessary.”

Brooks Laich (groin) did not skate for the fifth straight day Thursday. Oates said he didn’t have an update on the injured forward.

Green out versus Devils

Mike Green missed Thursday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils because of a lower-body injury. It was the second straight game out of the lineup for the Caps’ No. 1 defenseman.

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