Forward Joel Ward joined the list of Washington Capitals that have trickled back into town when he participated in an informal workout at Kettler Capitals Iceplex with nine other teammates Wednesday.
Along with his fellow Caps, Ward played in a set of scrimmages, but he did not go full bore as he continues to recover from offseason sports hernia surgery. Yet, Ward, who said he had the surgery in late June, is feeling better as he continues to rehab.
"I've been skating back at home a bit," said Ward, who makes his home in Toronto during the summer. "I can't necessarily, you know, play one-on-one with [forward Jay] Beagle all day, but I've been having just the time to get out there and just move around as much as I can. Very cautious about it, basically."
Ward said that he began to notice the pain, which he thought was nothing more than "everyday" wear and tear, in March, but "adrenaline just kinda took over towards the last little bit of the season" and he didn't think about it. Yet, as he began his offseason workout routine, he could no longer ignore the pain that had traveled from his groin to his lower abdomen and ultimately opted to have surgery.
The surgeon who performed Ward's operation, Dr. Michael Brunt, is familiar with the Caps organization, having operated on several players in the past, including defenseman Mike Green, who had the same surgery as Ward last season.
"The crappy part about it was that I was in bed for two weeks just doing nothing," Ward said. "With workouts and stuff, that kinda put a halt on that. That was the really terrible part for me, but it was a good challenge to get back into gear and revamp it up."
In his first full season in Washington after agreeing to a four-year, $12 million contract as a unrestricted free agent last summer, Ward finished with six goals and 18 points in 73 regular season games. His most notable goal, however, came in the postseason when he scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Caps' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins.
Ward believes that he will be "ready to go" once the season starts -- whenever that may be -- and hopes that things, like him, get back into gear sooner rather than later.
"It's just good to be back and playing again," he said. "It's been a long couple of weeks of summer and for us to even think about sitting out another long portion, it'd be dreadful. It's just good to be back on the ice, just to see the guys again. I think I'm ready to go. It's just a matter of...executing everyday."
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