Caps’ Green hopes for Tuesday return

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It’s a situation that’s unfortunate and sadly familiar: Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green’s day-to-day upper-body injury has kept him out for weeks.

On the bright side, he’s guardedly optimistic about returning in Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, while tonight’s contest versus the New Jersey Devils is a no-go. He spoke about his ups and downs with the Washington Post.

“It’s frustrating because you hope it’s a day-to-day injury,” Green said. “At the most, five to six days. And here we are. I’m anxious to get back, but we’ve got to be smart. That’s the last thing you want, is setbacks. That’s more frustrating than taking a day or two to make sure you’re 100 percent.”

Green, 29, was slowing down a bit (only an assist in his last five games before being injured), but he still enjoyed a promising start to his contract year.

The common refrain is that Green is a double-edged sword of a defenseman: seemingly just as dangerous to his own team as he is to opponents. It’s difficult to reconcile that reputation with results, however, as his possession stats stand far above any other Capitals defenseman (and have been impressive for some time, for that matter).

Even if you dismiss the notion that he’s better than people think, the Capitals certainly could use him sooner rather than later. They have a road-heavy schedule coming up, so a seemingly average team may get a boost from Green’s hopeful return.