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Injured defenseman Michal Kempny was seen skating on the ice prior to Friday's practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. Kempny has not played this season after undergoing surgery to repair his Achilles tendon in October.
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"I think his recovery's going well," head coach Peter Laviolette said.
Kempny appeared to be skating very gingerly so this should not be taken as a sign that a return is imminent. The original timetable for the surgery was six to eight months which would be sometime between April and June.
"He's here on a daily basis and he's inside getting treatment and doing his work and working himself to try and get back," Laviolette said. "So we see him and he's around, but when a player starts to get close you'll see him start to mix in with our group and start taking some reps. He's not there yet. He's doing well, but not quite to the point where he's joining us."
While Kempny seems to be progressing well, there should be no sense of urgency in returning him to the ice. The Capitals are very tight against the salary cap and it would be difficult to lose the $2.5 million of additional cap room allotted by having Kempny on long-term injured reserve.
Kempny also serves as a cautionary tale for why you do not rush back from a serious injury. Kempny tore his hamstring in 2019. The timetable for his return was four-to-six months and he returned to play after the six-month mark, but he never looked quite right and struggled through the entire season.
Without additional cap space, Kempny could potentially return for the playoffs when the salary cap no longer applies, but it seems doubtful the team would put a player into the lineup who has missed the entire season, especially one coming off a second serious injury.