Oates gives updates on lingering Caps injuries

Oates gives updates on lingering Caps injuries
April 10, 2013, 3:00 pm
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While it appears the Capitals will go into Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes without forwards Martin Erat and Joel Ward, the availability of forward Brooks Laich for the remainder of the season seems very unclear.

Laich met with a sports hernia specialist on Tuesday and Capitals coach Adam Oates said Wednesday Laich will meet with another specialist before determining the next step in treating a lower body injury that has sidelined him for all but nine games this season.

“I really shouldn’t comment because we all haven’t met together since he saw the one doctor,” Oates said following an optional practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I haven’t met with him and Ben [team physician Benjamin Shaffer] and George [McPhee] and I want to make sure I give you the correct answer.”

If Laich requires abdominal surgery similar to the ones Ward and Mike Green underwent last year, he’s likely facing a 4-6-week recovery period, which would sideline him through at least the first round of the playoffs and possibly longer.

If Laich is sidelined for an extended period the trade deadline acquisition of Erat becomes more significant. Erat, 31, suffered a leg injury Saturday night in Florida when he was checked from behind by Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

Erat had skated the past two days and said he’s felt better each day. If he cannot play Thursday night he’s likely to return on Saturday at home against Tampa or next Tuesday at home against Toronto.

“I still think he looks a little ways away,” Oates said, “but I’m sure it’s an injury that heals quick, so hopefully not too long.”

Erat said he’s hoping to return in a couple days.

“Actually, I thought it was going to be much worse,” he said. “The first couple days it was pretty sore but right now it feels pretty good.”

Erat said he wants to move on from the hit and did not spend much time wondering why the NHL did not suspend Gudbranson.
“I don’t know what the league was thinking,” he said, “but for me I just want to get back on the ice.”

Ward did not practice on Wednesday and is expected to miss his second straight game Thursday after blocking a shot by Sami Salo midway through the third period of Sunday’s win over Tampa.

“Yeah, he’s hurting pretty good,” Oates said. “I’m not quite sure how long it’s going to be.”

Erat said he’s happy to see the Capitals, who have won five straight and are 9-1-1 in their last 11 games, winning without a few key players in the lineup.

“It’s nice to see guys playing so well,” he said. “and it’s nice to jump on a train when it’s going.”