One big reason Brooks Orpik decided to hang up his skates, as he announced on Tuesday, was the severity of a knee injury, which impaired him for most of the 2018-19 season.
"I knew a long time ago, to be honest with you," Orpik told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "From the time I had surgery on it was pretty evident that I wasn't gonna play another year after this."
Wow! Orpik said he was at the point where he couldn't walk up and down steps at arena on game days because the pain in his knee was so bad. Said he got it to a point where he could play for 2 1/2 hrs then deal with it later.
Credits #Caps training staff for getting him ready!
— Rob Carlin (@RobCarlinNBCS) June 25, 2019
After playing 10 games in October to start the season, Orpik was was placed on long-term injured reserve, then underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in November.
He returned to the lineup Dec. 31 and played a total of 53 games during the regular season last year.
But despite the medical staff's best efforts, Orpik remained in pain for the duration of the season.
"I'd use the elevator at [Capital One Arena] to go up and down cause I couldn't go up and down stairs," Orpik said. "When I couldn't do that it was time to stop playing hockey I figured.
"I could just get it to a point where I could play for two and a half hours and then pay for it afterward and then try to do it all over again."
Orpik's dealt with a multitude of injuries during his career in Washington. During the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, Orpik lost part of his pinkie finger after a brutal slash courtesy of Erik Haula. He also dealt with an infection in his leg during the Caps 2017 playoff run, which he acquired after blocking a shot.
During his tenure with the Penguins, Orpik suffered a broken finger in 2011 and was carted off the ice in 2013 after being pulled down and punched by then Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton.
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