ARLINGTON, V.A. — Following their return from a season-long six-game road swing, the Washington Capitals saw Tom Wilson take a major step forward in his recovery as he joined the team for its morning skate on Friday.
Wilson took the ice for the entirety of the team’s skate ahead of Friday’s tilt with the Seattle Kraken and stayed on for extra work with the scratches. He was in a blue non-contact jersey and full gear. It is his first skate with the team since suffering a torn ACL and having surgery back in May.
Nicklas Backstrom and Dmitry Orlov were also on the ice in D.C., with Backstrom also sporting a blue sweater.
It marks another step forward for the 28-year-old, who had been skating on his own up until this point. His initial 6-8 month timeline had him pegged for a late December/early January return.
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In 78 games last season, Wilson had a career-high 24 goals, 28 assists and 52 points, which earned him a trip to the 2022 NHL All-Star Weekend. He was an instrumental part in the team’s success and also scored the series-opening goal against the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, just over a minute into action in Sunrise, a strange hit on Mackenzie Weegar led to the injury.
“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 said of his ailment. “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.”
There is still ways to go for No. 43. However, this is a major step forward in the recovery process. Spirits were high on the ice, and he was also skating well and making strong plays.