Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee addressed the media today to provide status updates to several injured Caps, including defenseman Mike Green, who will be undergoing abdominal surgery today to repair a sports hernia.
“It’s basically a sports hernia,” McPhee said. “But there were a couple parts to it – one was a tendon issue and one was a little tear in the stomach. The tendon healed just fine. But the hole didn’t close up, so we just need to close that thing up.”
McPhee indicated that doctors believed that surgery wasn’t necessary when the injury was first diagnosed, but that the team took a “conservative approach” with Green’s care.
“The doctor who was doing the surgery didn’t think it was necessary at that time. You always want to take the conservative approach with athletes and any human being, I guess. You never want to open anybody up to surgery if it’s not necessarily, and so you always take the conservative approach. We did, and parts of it went real well and one part didn’t go so well, so we need to repair the one area.”
The procedure Green will have is similar to the procedure former players Jamie Heward and Chris Clark had, where mesh will be inserted into the herniated area to strengthen the stomach lining. McPhee believes Green should not have lingering problems once the area has healed following surgery. He set the timetable for Green’s return at four-to-six weeks.
McPhee said Green’s injury is not similar to that of defenseman Tom Poti, who failed his pre-camp physical and has resided on LTIR all season.
“Different injuries,” McPhee said when asked to compare the two. “And with respect to Tom there was, I think, from what I understand, at some point there was a fracture in his pelvis. He got hit hard enough and sometimes that leads to the instability and never really gets back to where you want it to be. It’s rare. But unfortunately with Tom, that’s what’s happened.”
McPhee reiterated his opinion that Poti might not ever be healthy enough to return to the NHL. “Tom’s been working at it and improving. But I don’t know if he’ll ever get to the point where he can play again. That would be great, but I just said in the summer we weren’t counting on it.”
Asked about Nick Backstrom, McPhee said that the Swedish pivot was “doing really well” and that he was progressing in his recovery from concussion symptoms as a result of a flagrant, illegal elbow to the head by then-Calgary forward Rene Bourque. McPhee didn’t think Backstrom would be out until the All-Star break., but was cautious when discussing his return. “Whenever he’s ready to get going, we’ll get him going. But obviously we’re going to be real careful because we want this to be a one time thing and something we never have to worry about again.”
*Quotes for this article taken from published sources.