ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will not return to the lineup Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2) as he continues to work back from a lower-body contusion.
"Not ready, not 100 percent ready," coach Adam Oates said. "He could go, but you know what, [the Penguins are a] really good team and [we] don't want to put him in a position where he's behind the eight-ball a little bit."
Green has not played since Nov. 12, when he sustained the injury against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oates, who said his reluctance to place Green in the lineup has to do with the defenseman's conditioning, has maintained the injury is not related to any of the groin problems that have plagued Green in recent seasons.
The 28-year-old fully participated in practice Tuesday and in the morning skate Wednesday.
"Better than yesterday," Green said. "Mentally I'm in a good place, when you're getting better and you can actually get back on the ice and work on your strength. This is my second real day where I've actually skated. Yesterday was a good one. Today was even better. I don't think one practice would have been enough. It's important I strengthen the leg and also my endurance so I'm ready to go."
Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Penguins for their NBCSN Rivalry Night matchup Wednesday at Verizon Center.
Marcus Johansson – Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson
John Carlson – Karl Alzner
Nate Schmidt – Tyson Strachan
Alexander Urbom – Steve Oleksy
Scratched: Jay Beagle, Eric Fehr, Dmitry Orlov
Injured: Mike Green (lower-body contusion), John Erskine (knee), Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau)
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Beau Bennett
Pascal Dupuis – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Brian Gibbons – Brandon Sutter – Jussi Jokinen
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Olli Maatta – Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen – Deryk Engelland
Scratched: Zach Sill, Robert Bortuzzo
Injured: Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)