The pain for Michal Neuvirth comes when he’s simply putting on his right skate. It gets worse when he’s trying to push off and move from side to side.
Neuvirth is dealing with a bruised right foot suffered from taking a shot in pregame warmups Oct. 10. And just when it looked like he was able to practice with the Capitals Monday, he left the ice after just a few minutes as he was feeling “too sore” to stay out there.
“It’s a big bruise and [I’m] trying to ice it,” Neuvirth said. “I can’t really push on the ice or anything like that. I feel a lot of pain right now.”
The Caps had been characterizing the 23-year-old’s issue as only a “lower-body injury” and kept calling him day-to-day. He missed three straight days of practice last week, worked out for an hour after Saturday’s morning skate and appeared to be on the mend.
Then came Monday’s setback, as coach Bruce Boudreau noted that the goalie was “still sore.”
“It was a little test. It was too sore to stay on the ice,” Neuvirth said. “It’s getting better and hopefully it’s going to get better and I’ll get healthy soon.”
But Neuvirth said there was no timetable for his return to game action. Boudreau cautioned that he would probably have to go through a full practice before even serving as a backup to Tomas Vokoun, so it’s possible the Caps recall either Dany Sabourin or Braden Holtby before Tuesday’s game against the Panthers.
Neuvirth conceded he was experiencing pain when trying to put pressure on that right foot and move from side-to-side. Vokoun pointed out that foot injuries are rare with goalies, so it makes it more difficult to know what’s wrong and how to adjust.
“Obviously he’s frustrated because it’s kind of bad injury for [goalies],” Vokoun said. “… The skate squeezes your heel, and it’s giving him problems.”
Day-to-day will likely remain the official word from the team, but Vokoun said a timeline is even uncertain with an injury like this.
“I’ve never had it and it’s not common,” the 35-year-old said. “So it’s kind of hard to project how long it’s going to bother you.”