As the Washington Capitals step on the ice in Buffalo on Monday evening they will do so with a much too familiar vacancy on their defense. The game against the Sabres will be the 20th consecutive and 26th of the season without Mike Green in the lineup.
Over the past two seasons, Green’s absence from the lineup has become a new normal for Washington and a trying time for the two-time Norris Trophy finalist. Dating from Feb. 8 of last season, Green has missed 52 of the past 62 regular season contests because of injury.
It’s unclear when Green, who was not made available to comment for this story, will return from his latest setback, a strained right groin muscle that he suffered in mid-November. When Green’s recovery plateaued two weeks ago, the Capitals decided to take an experimental route with his rehabilitation, according to several people familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the defenseman’s recovery.