Thousands turned out to the Washington Redskins' training facility in Ashburn Saturday for the team's annual Fan Appreciation Day.
Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.
Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.
Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.
"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.
Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.
The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.
Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.
If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.
Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.
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The Capitals (2-2-1) were dealt a herky-jerky schedule for the first month of the NHL season, already having logged two back-to-backs and two extended breaks. But Washington finally gets a semblance of normalcy when they host the New York Rangers (2-4) on Wednesday night in the first of two home games before heading out west to end the month.
The Caps enter the Wednesday Night Hockey tilt with their longtime regional foes having dropped a thrilling weekend showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs and their high-powered attack. The Rangers have long been a thorn in the side of the Capitals and fans alike. But the team that will hit the ice at Capital One Arena on Oct. 17 will be one that Capitals need to dispatch of with ease.
The team's first foray into defending a championship has been a wild ride with ceremonies, openers, rematches and a lot of time off. After dropping the first three games of the season, New York has won two of its last three, with both games needing extra time.
Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Rangers which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
CAPITALS vs. RANGERs HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, Game 6 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Rangers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)
Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Rangers on the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and the NBC Sports MyTeams App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM
CAPITALS vs. RANGERS TV SCHEDULE
6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Rangers on NBC Sports Network
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live
CAPITALS vs. RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH
Braden Holtby, G. Capitals: Holtby has started four of the Capitals' first five games. He's allowed just two goals in the Capitals' two wins, but has given up 11 in the two losses. That being said, the Rangers do not have the caliber of fire-power possessed by the Penguins and Maple Leafs. Expect a big game from "The HoltBeast."
Mats Zuccarello, Rangers: The Rangers savvy veteran leads the team in assists (5) and points (50 through the first six games. While he's not the most dangerous threat on offense, he's the table setter and crafty elder statesman.
CAPITALS vs. RANGERS SERIES HISTORY
Number of all-time Meetings: 273
All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead series 131–117–18–7
Regular Season Record: Capitals lead series 103–90–18–7
Playoff Record: Capitals lead series 28-27
Last Meeting: Capitals beat Rangers 3-2 OT (3/28/2018)
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