Less than three weeks after undergoing hip surgery Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has returned to Sweden and, according to a report in a Swedish newspaper, may be facing a rehab lasting five months.
“I have been in pain since November sometime so we had to correct it,” Backstrom told Gefle Dagblad. “It is difficult to say how long it will take to get back, it's a little different from individual to individual, but five months is something I heard. Right now I'm working mainly with getting up movement in the hip again.”
Backstrom, 27, underwent arthroscopic hip surgery on May 27, one day after playing golf at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda. If his rehab indeed lasts five months, he would not be cleared to play until the last week of October. The 2015-16 NHL regular season is expected to begin on or around Oct. 7.
One day after Backstrom’s surgery, the Capitals issued a release stating that “based on the nature of this procedure we are confident that Nick will be completely healthy prior to the start of the 2015-16 regular season.
Backstrom, 27, played in all 82 regular season games and all 14 playoff games for the Capitals this season. It marked the sixth time in his career that he played in all 82 regular season games. He also led the NHL in assists with 60 and finished sixth in points with 78.
In the playoffs Backstrom recorded three goals and five assists, but managed no goals and two assists and was a minus-3 in the final 10 games of the post-season.
As Backstrom noted, recovery from hip surgery varies from individual to individual, which could push his return up to the start of the regular season. If not, look for Evgeny Kuznetsov to begin the season as the Caps’ top-line center. Kuznetsov is coming off a strong rookie season, recording 37 points in 80 regular season games and matching Alex Ovechkin’s team-high total of five goals in 14 playoffs games.