- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No news is sometimes good news. On the Capitals’ injury front, any news is good.

So Monday brought at least some positivity for the Caps, as Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott returned to practice at Kettler, skating in full pads with their teammates.

“Some guys are coming back here soon, so it’s gonna be good,” Marco Sturm said. “We wanna go [into the playoffs] with a positive attitude.”

That positive attitude has a lot to do with winning without those guys, but everyone certainly would love to have them back. So Monday was progress.

“They skated pretty good today, so they’re getting closer,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I haven’t talked to [trainer Greg Smith] about the actual timeline right now, but they skated really well as part of practice and looked good.”

Asked if the end of the week was still realistic for both to return as he had originally predicted, Boudreau said “Yeah.”

Ovechkin (undisclosed injury) doesn’t appear likely to get back into the lineup Tuesday night at Verizon Center against the Carolina Hurricanes. But he’d obviously like to.

“It’s not bothering me,” he said. “I think I’m ready to go.”

Arnott (lower body) said the end of the week was a possibility, too. The Caps play the Blue Jackets on Thursday night and the Sabres on Saturday night.

Defensemen Mike Green (concussion) and Tom Poti (groin) aren’t even candidates to make those games. Both skated a bit Monday, but neither has a timetable to return.

Green talked about taking everything with his head day by day and admitted he still felt symptoms “here and there.” But they’re not getting worse, so he’s hopeful.

“There is like a protocol that you have to follow, so hopefully this week I’ll be able to get out and get a full practice and get that under my belt so that I can move forward and take some tests and get back in the game,” Green said. “There’s no way to tell; we’ll see how it goes this week.”

Poti said he’ll know when he’s closer by how quick he is in practice doing certain drills. His goal is to see some game action before the playoffs, though that’s not a hard and fast deadline.

“It’s kinda more pressure than anything if you set a deadline. It kinda comes and goes,” Poti said. “It’s definitely getting a little better. I’m able to participate in practices and not reinjure it. It’s definitely getting better, but it’s not where it needs to be right now.”

The Caps aren’t entirely where they need to be healthwise right now, either. But Monday was a big step toward getting there.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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