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Backstrom To Return From Hip Resurfacing Surgery, In For Capitals vs. Columbus

Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom will make his season debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday, marking his first game back from hip resurfacing surgery.



WASHINGTON — After months of rehabilitation and progressing after hip resurfacing surgery, it appears Nicklas Backstrom is finally ready to return to the Washington Capitals lineup, and he will make his season debut on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Capitals confirmed that he will be in the lineup tomorrow, and that more transactions — including news on Tom Wilson — is coming within the next hour or so.

Back in June, Backstrom made the difficult decision to undergo hip resurfacing surgery in Belgium in a last-ditch effort to save his career. For him, it was "either that or skate on one leg again," as his hip got to the point where he could barely function in daily life or play in a hockey game. The last two NHLers who had the surgery, Ed Jovanovski and Ryan Kesler, saw their careers end following attempted returns from the experimental procedure. Backstrom isn't planning to follow that path, and despite critics questioning whether or not he'd be able to play again, Backstrom vowed that he would be on the ice in an NHL uniform again.

"I knew I could return… it was a little uncertain [when]. It was more about when and how quickly I could recover," Backstrom said, adding, "We've passed so many things that I had to pass."

Backstrom had started by working out and conditioning off the ice before skating on his own and progressing to skating in gear and stickhandling. After that, he joined his teammates in a non-contact jersey and then finally upgraded to contact. There haven't been any setbacks for Backstrom, and for the first time since 2015, he is pain-free.

"I'm not going to put pressure on myself. All I can say is I feel great, and as I said earlier, the biggest thing for me is I have no pain, that I'm able to skate and move the way I want to," Backstrom said. "Hopefully, that's enough."

Washington is almost exactly halfway through the season, having played its 42nd game of the year on Friday.

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