ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals got a positive sign on Wednesday as Anthony Mantha laced up his skates and hit the ice for some individual work ahead of the team’s practice on Wednesday. It was the first time he’s skated since November.
And although it was a step in the right direction for No. 39, head coach Peter Laviolette stressed that there is still no timetable for his return.
“No details. No timeline. He’s at the very beginning of the way back as far as the ice goes,” Laviolette said.
Mantha remains on the long-term injured reserve while continuing a lengthy recovery process. He played just 10 games to open 2021-22, picking up six points before suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 4 against Florida following an awkward missed hit on Anthony Duclair. Mantha ultimately had to undergo shoulder surgery and had been off the ice since.
Laviolette said while there’s hope that he will return before the postseason there’s no “definitive” yes or no with regard to if he will get some action in before the Capitals playoff run.
“Whatever I tell you, I’m guessing right now. I don’t know the answer to that,” Laviolette said. “Certainly, there is hope. But I don’t have a definitive answer on that.
“He’s got a long road here. He’s traveling in a different group right now, he’s with the rehab guys. Not at the game, not in the practices, oftentimes not in the meetings. And so right now, his focus is just on getting healthy and put himself in a position to get back to the ice.”
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Conor Sheary said that he has seen Mantha around the facility as he’s continued his recovery and that his teammate is constantly working with trainers or working out to get in shape for his return. He also said that the 26-year-old was excited while returning to the ice early on Tuesday.
“I saw him getting dressed, he seemed pretty excited to put his skates back on… it seems like it could be forever until he plays again. But hopefully, he’s inching closer with getting back on the ice. It’s definitely good to see him back out there.”
“Mo is kind of still new to the team… but his offensive ability, he can change a game with one shift and score some big goals.”