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Tom Wilson Back For Capitals vs. Columbus, Joins Nicklas Backstrom In Lineup

The Washington Capitals will get Tom Wilson back in the mix as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.



ARLINGTON, V.A. — After confirming that Nicklas Backstrom would return to the lineup on Sunday, the Washington Capitals also announced that Tom Wilson would also be making his season debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It will be Wilson's first game since tearing his ACL back on May 3 in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers. He underwent surgery at the end of May to repair the ligament in his left knee, and he has been working his way back since.

"My injury was weird, and when you're on your feet, even in that first game when I was hurt, I was doing tests that I shouldn't have been able to do," Wilson explained. "I was jumping up and down and a bunch of different stuff, and they're like, 'You're fine. You're fine.'

"Subconsciously when I moved one way on the ice, I couldn't use other muscles. And the stability in my knee wasn't there," Wilson said. "It was a little bit frustrating, but in my head, I did a week or two where I was doing fast feet and over hurdles with my brace on and everything felt good. And then I'd go on the ice and it would just be like, 'no go…' it just didn't happen, so we had to shut it down."

Both Wilson and Backstrom, who is set to return after hip resurfacing surgery, have been on similar timelines, as both have been skating together and working to get back in the mix.

The 28-year-old is coming off the best season of his career that saw him dish 24 goals, 28 assists and 52 points in 78 games in 2021-22, which also earned him a trip to the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

As he returns, he expects to bring the same "boom" he did last season and be not only a physical player and strong two-way asset but to add offense and be an X-Factor as well.

"My expectation is that I have to be where I was before. I mean, that's the only acceptable outcome," Wilson said. "I want to be the player that I was before, so this whole process, I've had that in mind and that's been my goal… there's going to be a couple of games to get my feet under me. But just come back and do whatever I can to chip in and help the team keep moving forward and push towards the playoffs."

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