Christian Djoos returned to practice Monday after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury.
When he’ll suit up for a game, however, remains uncertain, according to Coach Barry Trotz.
Djoos, who is tied for the team lead in goals among defensemen with two, donned the usual navy blue D-man jersey and appeared to be a full participant in drills.
“He’s cleared for practice [and] we don’t play until Thursday,” Trotz said. “We’re going to think about long-term with him all the time. He’s a young player; we’re going to make sure he’s 100-percent.”
Trotz added: “If we feel any doubt, we’ll keep him where he is. We’ll see how he did. That was the first go for him. He’s got to make it through more than one [practice].”
“It’s just boring not playing hockey.”—Christian Djoos, who missed the past six games. pic.twitter.com/Hdwe0IdWam— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) November 27, 2017
As of Monday afternoon, Djoos was still listed on injured reserve. The team will need to make a move to clear a roster spot for the rookie once he’s activated. Including Djoos, the Caps have eight defensemen, 14 forwards and two goalies—one more than the maximum. (Andre Burakovsky, who is skating a shooting but has not yet rejoined the team, remains on long-term injured reserve.)
It’s unclear what the Capitals will do to clear a spot. Trotz said that decision will be made by GM Brian MacLellan after he consults with the coaching staff.
MacLellan has time, though, as Washington’s next game isn’t until Thursday, when the Caps kick off a five-game homestand against the Kings.
Djoos is sixth among Washington defensemen in ice time at14:08—15 seconds less on average than fellow rookie Madison Bowey.