By Peter Hassett and Ian Oland
The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday afternoon that forward Nicklas Backstrom underwent hip surgery.
The operation was a success, and the Capitals say his recovery process will be “lengthy.”
#Caps center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. The surgery was performed at the ANCA Clinic in Belgium. Backstrom will begin his rehabilitation and lengthy recovery process immediately.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) June 18, 2022
Backstrom had a prior hip surgery seven years ago. He missed the first two months of the 2021-22 season while rehabilitating an injury to the same hip. He scored six goals and 25 assists in 47 games.
On Breakdown Day, Backstrom revealed he was still struggling.
“As I said before, the hip is not going to be 100 percent,” Backstrom said. “That’s something we all know. Some days are good, some days are less good. That’s just life.”
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said that how last season went for Backstrom was not sustainable “not the way it is. It’s hard for him to play. He’s got a couple things in mind that he wants to try and we’ll go from there.”
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in May that if Backstrom chooses surgery, he would be facing a “grueling, grueling” rehabilitation process.
What I think that might be is that if he’s facing a kind of surgery that, judging by his comments he could be facing, it’s a lot to come back from for a guy that’s had the miles that Backstrom’s had. There have been some rumors that’s what he’s been weighing and it makes sense with what he said. It’s not just the injury, but it’s the surgery you could have and the recovery from it. And it’s a big deal. It’s a big challenge. I don’t know if that means he’s going to retire or might he have to take a year off or something like that. I don’t have all of those answers. But the one thing I kind of heard was, if he gets the surgery, the kind of that’s indicated with his injuries, it’s a grueling, grueling thing and not insignificant.
If Backstrom is unable to return, he will likely retire as the Capitals’ all-time leader in assists (747) and only the second Capital ever to reach the 1000-point mark with the team.
Backstrom has three years remaining on a five-year, $46 million contract he signed in January 2020. His cap hit is $9.2 million.
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB
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