Capital comeback: Hillen assigned to AHL Hershey after major leg break

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Jack Hillen has made a big step in his recovery from a right tibial plateau fracture, as he’s been assigned to Washington’s AHL affiliate in Hershey on a conditioning stint.

Hillen, 28, suffered the fracture on Oct. 3 in Washington’s home-opener against Calgary and has missed the last 57 games as a result. The damage was fairly significant — Hillen underwent surgery where doctors put a stabilizing plate and five screws in his knee, and he was unable to put weight on his right leg for three months.

“They want to be safe because if the knee moves or something doesn’t heal right, it can be a lot of long-term damage to it,” Hillen told NBC Washington at the time. “I wish it were lower on the leg and not the knee because then you can start [to] do some other stuff, but you don’t want the plates and the screws to move and other things.

“It’s tough.”

A former standout with Colorado College, Hillen had nine points in 23 games with the Capitals last season, his first in Washington after spending time with the Islanders and Predators.