Laich has sat out the past three games after missing the first 28 games of the season due to a groin injury sustained while playing in Switzerland during the lockout.
Laich has played nine games this season, and has a goal and three assists.
Oates refused to comment if surgery was being considered for Laich; the coach had not met with the team's medical staff and general manager George McPhee since Laich's visit with Brunt.
The news for two other Capitals forwards also was not good.
Oates said forward Martin Erat, acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline, remains "a ways away" from returning to the lineup. Erat suffered a lower-body injury April 6, in his second game with the Capitals.
Erat, asked if he would be available for the Capitals' game Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, told the Washington Post, "I don't see it. … It feels better every day. I don't know what's the timetable, but trying to skate with it and see how it goes next couple days. I thought it's going to be much worse. But first couple days it was pretty sore, but right now it feels pretty good."
"He's hurting pretty good," Oates said. "We're not quite sure how long it's going to be. He has not skated yet."