June 15th, 2024

Nicklas Backstrom is taking a leave of absence from the Washington Capitals because of his hip

By The Associated Press on November 1, 2023.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) passes the puck around San Jose Sharks center William Eklund (72) in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is taking a leave of absence from the team because of what he called an “ongoing injury situation” after a slow start to the season on his artificial left hip.

“I decided to take some time and step away from the game. This is a difficult decision, but one that I feel is right for my health at this time,” Backstrom said in a statement released Wednesday by the Capitals.

He said he needs to “determine my next steps and viable options moving forward.”

Backstrom, Washington’s career leader in assists, had hip resurfacing surgery in the summer of 2022 to address a chronic injury that had bothered him for years. He returned to the team in January, played the remainder of last season and came to training camp insisting he was healthy and good to go.

The Swede, who turns 36 this month, had just one point in eight games so far this season. Washington is 4-3-1 heading into its game Thursday against the visiting New York Islanders.

“We stand behind Nicklas and will support him throughout this process. We know firsthand how hard he has worked and how determined he is to get back to full health,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. “Our organization stands fully behind him while he takes his leave of absence from the team and takes time to evaluate his current health situation.”

Backstrom has 271 goals and 762 assists in 1,105 NHL games, all with Washington, which drafted him in the first round in 2006. He and Alex Ovechkin became one of the top forward duos in the league and helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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