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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Caps' Mikhail Grabovski aggrivates ankle injury; goes back on shelf


By on 3/02/2014 12:00:00 PM

The human ankle is a conglomerate of bones and ligaments that naturally work against each other to enable us to walk, run and, in hockey, skate.  It is a miraculous mechanism which relies on all of these moving parts to be in perfect sync - otherwise, one can experience pain.

Or "Big Pain" as Washington Capitals' centerman Mikhail Grabovski put it when he was forced to the shelf for eight games after New Jersey Devils' defenseman Bryce Salvador fell on his leg during a game on January 24th - but Grabovski was back in the lineup against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, though teammates knew he was skating on thin ice with the ankle.

“We knew his status coming into the game tonight,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “We knew it might be a touch and go kind of feeling thing. Obviously something happened in the game early that didn’t feel well for him and he pulled out.”

Grabovski lasted all of three shifts in the 5-4 Caps' victory over Florida before Panthers' forward Nick Bjugstad fell on his leg, aggravating the joint and sending Grabovski to the room, where he rained for the duration of the match.

“I don’t know if it’s the same spot, they’re going to check,” Coach Adam Oates said. “Those ankle injuries are difficult, as I think everybody’s seen before, and hopefully it’s not bad.”

It was bad enough that the playmaker couldn't play Saturday in Boston, as he had returned to Washington to be evaluated by team doctors, and no new word has emerged from the team in regard to his status moving forward.

The Capitals, who entered the Olympic break on a hot streak has come out of the break absolutely on fire and have now won five of their last six and are just one point behind Philadelphia for third place in the Metropolitan Division and the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race - and also a point behind Detroit for the second wild card spot.

And wouldn't you know it?  Washington enters a home and home series with the Flyers on Sunday afternoon in a battle for that playoff spot, the second leg of the series on Wednesday before things get much, much tougher for the Capitals with trips to Boston, Pittsburgh and the California gauntlet against the Murderer's Row lineup of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Hopefully for the Caps, Grabovski's ankle heals quickly.

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