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Mike Green will be sidelined until at least February

Florida Panthers v Washington Capitals

of the Washington Capitals against the Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center on October 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Greg Fiume

The Washington Capitals better not have been holding out until Mike Green could make a full return, because it looks like that day won’t come anytime soon.’s Chuck Gormley reports that the team placed him on the long-term injured reserve on Thursday. For that reason, Green won’t be eligible to return until Feb. 1 - at the earliest - meaning he’ll miss a minimum of eight more games.

Green was only in the middle of his second game back from a groin injury on Saturday when he re-injured that nagging ailment. The problem is so serious that the Capitals said he might not be the same for a “long time.”

This is devastating news for Green, but the bottom line is that the Caps are likely used to him being out of the lineup this season. From the looks of things, Washington might need Dennis Wideman to continue playing All-Star-caliber hockey because he could be their top offensive defenseman for quite some time.