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Return for Washington's Green remains up in air

Thursday, 03.24.2011 / 1:41 PM / News

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Return for Washington's Green remains up in air
With Capitals defenseman Mike Green dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion, his return this season is still unknown.
Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green hasn't played in a month because of a concussion, and coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters a determination on his availability for the rest of the regular season could be nearing.

Green left Washington's game on Feb. 25 after a hit from New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan, and hasn't participated in contact drills since. Boudreau said Thursday at the team's practice facility in Arlington, Va., Green won't travel with the team to Ottawa and Montreal this weekend.

"In a perfect world we'd like to get him back for the last couple of games," Boudreau told reporters. "I think this week will indicate that. We'll know by Monday whether he'll be able to or not."

Boudreau said Green must be cleared by the team's head trainer, Greg Smith, and he must complete three full practices (i.e. not morning skates or optional workouts) before he'll consider putting his two-time Norris Trophy finalist back in the lineup.

The concussion from Stepan's hit was actually Green's second head injury in three appearances. The game against the Rangers was his second after missing time because of getting hit in the ear with a puck against Pittsburgh on Feb. 6.

Green dealt with dizziness and balance issues after the incident against the Penguins, which was diagnosed as inner-ear trauma. Boudreau refuted reports at the time that Green had a concussion.

The 25-year-old defenseman has eight goals and 24 points this season after collecting 50 goals and 149 points in the previous two seasons combined.

Washington acquired Dennis Wideman at the trade deadline to help replace some of Green's heavy workload, but the Capitals will be plenty happy to have their No. 1 defenseman back, either by the end of the regular season or during the postseason.

"We're not going to say 'Oh, he's feeling good let's put him in,' " Boudreau said. "And I told him again today, 'Mike, I just want you to get better.' I said 'I want you to play. But I want you to get better.' He was saying how good he felt and I said, 'That's a fabulous sign.' "
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With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano