The Capitals are expecting Shea Weber back soon, and he won’t be the only healthy player in their lineup, coach Adam Oates said Thursday.
Weber was out the last game of the regular season, a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 12, and Oates wouldn’t say when the center would return.
He’s been skating without a gash to his knee, so Oates won’t have to worry about Weber getting hurt.
“We’re still hopeful, we still believe, that he’ll be ready to go for the playoffs, and that’s really what it is, a process,” Oates told reporters after practice.
“I think the sooner we get that process under way, the better.
But it’s going to be a long process.”
Weber has missed six games in the past five months with a strained groin and sprained ankle, but Oates has said the groin strain is minor and that it’s possible he’ll play this season.
“He’s going through the process of having that groin surgery, and the ligament damage that we’ve seen and that he’s had to deal with in the last year, and there are other things that come along with it,” Oate said.
“So we’re going to make the right call.
I don’t want to give you any advice, but I think it’s a decision that’s going be based on him feeling that way and what’s best for him.”
Weber, a 23-year-old center, has played just two games this season after having surgery on a herniated disk in his knee.
“As we speak, I think he’s been working with our medical staff, his trainers, his orthopedic team,” Oats said.
He was one of four players on the Capitals roster who were called up from the AHL in September.
He will likely start skating in training camp.
He has been skating for the Capitals for the past three games, playing alongside fellow center Alex Ovechkin.
Weber is tied for third on the team with 10 goals and has eight assists.
He said he was thrilled to get the call-up to the NHL.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said.