Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green missed practice Wednesday and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to the team. His status for the team's next game -- Friday against the Detroit Red Wings -- is uncertain.
"We'll see," coach Adam Oates said. "Obviously hope so. We'll see. We'll evaluate him [Thursday]."
The 28-year-old played 23:03 in the Capitals' 4-3 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday. He absorbed a large hit behind the net from Jackets forward Blake Comeau near the midway point of the third period, but Oates said Wednesday that he did not believe that that particular hit was the root cause of the injury, adding that "he got bumped up during the game."
Green has appeared in all 19 games for Washington this season, but has missed 93 of the Capitals' last 231 regular-season games dating back to the start of the 2010-11 season with a variety of ailments, from a concussion to a lingering groin injury that ultimately required surgery in January 2012. He joins fellow defensemen John Erskine (upper body) and Jack Hillen (fractured tibial plateau) on the injured list.
With a history of lower-body injuries, the Captials plan to monitor Green closely, especially considering he is a common target of opposing teams.
"One of those things that we've talked to him about is playing him too much, so maybe he's a little fatigued and he doesn't see a guy coming as fast as he should," Oates said. "And it's one of the things that we're trying to monitor, spread the minutes out to not put that much pressure on him."
Despite having 11 assists, Green has yet to score, the longest season-opening goalless drought of his nine-year career. Even if Green is not having a season up to his standards -- on its face, anyway -- his void is one that is hard to fill.
"That's a huge loss," said defenseman Nate Schmidt, Green's defensive partner. "Greener's been instrumental not only to our team, but to me as well. It's going to hurt, not only myself, but it's going to hurt the team. He's an incredible player. He's one of those guys on a team that never really panics, which is always good to have."
As for replacements, center Jay Beagle skated on defense during practice Wednesday, but he was simply a placeholder and Oates has no intention of using him in that situation during a game. The most viable option -- keeping in mind Oates' insistence on his players playing on their strong sides -- might be Connor Carrick, who was on Washington's opening-night roster and played in three games this season. He has four assists in nine games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
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