- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mike Green is still some time away from returning to game action for the Washington Capitals. Sports hernia surgery on Jan. 17 ensured the defenseman would be out four to six more weeks after missing much of the season with nagging injuries.

But this week Green made a big first step toward playing just his 11th game of the season by skating for three straight days.

“Well, mentally I feel great. I have a progression of the injury. At least I have an end date where I should be better and that’s comforting,” Green said in his first meeting with reporters since the operation. “But physically I’m Day Three into being on the ice and today with equipment on. It’s still early. But from the point of the surgery I’m two weeks in and on the right path.”

Green is actually right on schedule, skating two weeks after the surgery, which repaired a tear in his stomach lining. The 26-year-old is “hoping to be back” before the four-to-six-week time frame, but he does not have a specific date in mind.

But before going under the knife, Green was perpetually listed as day-to-day, though he was really out indefinitely. There was no clear picture of when he could shake his groin problem and play again.

Now, he and the Caps know what they’re in for.

“As much as I was doing and trying as hard as I could to come back there’s just something wrong,” Green said. “It’s comforting now that it’s fixed. And I can tell right away. It’s just a matter of getting back in shape and just healing up and I’ll be ready to go.”

Green said he felt a difference within a week to 10 days, with muscles firing as normal like they weren’t in recent months since he suffered the right groin strain Nov. 11. He’s doing off-ice workouts and hopes to feel less fatigued as time goes on.

What happens in the coming weeks is up to Green and could change.

“It’s just how I feel,” he said. “There is a progression and a timeline of how you should feel. But if I can speed that process up then I will, if I need to take more time I will.”

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