After being placed on the ‘injured non roster’ list on Tuesday, Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny has finally been cleared for contact.
Kempny was skating on Wednesday morning, wearing a dark blue contact jersey, according to The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
Todd Reirden said Michal Kempny, who was skating in a regular dark blue jersey today, is cleared for contact. No update to whether he plays later in the week vs NYI or CAR, but Reirden didn’t rule it out.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) October 2, 2019
While Reirden did not rule out that Kempny could return as soon as Friday’s matchup against the New York Islanders, or Saturday’s home opener against Carolina, NHL.com’s Tom Guilitti reported that it was more likely that the Czech defenseman will return the following week.
Reirden confirmed Kempny has been cleared for contact. Didn’t completely rule out him playing in one of the games later this week, but said likely he won’t play until next week.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) October 2, 2019
The road to recovery has been slow and steady for Kempny, who was injured after getting tangled up with Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette in March. The resulting hamstring tear required surgery, and Kempny spent the summer, and all of the preseason, rehabbing.
Kempny passed his conditioning test on September 28th, but Reirden stressed that they did not want to rush him back before he was ready.
“We’re still hoping things continue to move in the right direction. Just another few days to get him past the opener there. Then [give him] time [so he’s] been through contact and a number of different situations so he’s really comfortable on the ice,” Reirden said. “We don’t want to put him out there unprepared. No preseason games for him. We’ll practice and put him in situations where there’s a lot of five-on-five play.”
While Kempny continues to move closer to his return, 19-year-old defenseman Martin Fehervary and Jonas Siegenthaler will be in the lineup for the season opener after both players impressed during Training Camp and the preseason.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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