Lars Eller a game-time decision for Tuesday after overcoming injury setback

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J.J. Regan
·2 min read
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Eller a game-time decision for Tuesday after overcoming injury setback originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Lars Eller declared himself available to play, but he will be a game-time decision for Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington), head coach Peter Laviolette said after the Capitals' morning skate.

Eller has been dealing with a lower-body injury that he suffered March 13 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Though his status has never changed from "day-to-day" Eller's absence has stretched for seven games.

"I had a setback, plain and simple," Eller said. "As we progressed and I felt better and better, I just had a step backward and we had to settle down, rest again and then slowly progress one more time."

When asked if it was a different injury or a setback on the same injury, Eller said the setback was "in a different area."

Now that he is ready to go, Eller made it clear he was eager to get back in.

"I don't like sitting out for this long," Eller said. "Certainly not. I want to be playing, I want to be out there. I miss being out there."

In four seasons with the Caps, Eller has missed a total of three games and never more than one in a season. This year, he has missed a total of 12 games with a lower-body injury, an upper-body injury and a short absence for personal reasons.

With Eller a game-time decision, it is not known who he would replace in the lineup.

Presumably, he would slide back in at third-line center, but the team has been playing with only three centers in his absence so a winger will have to come out. Daniel Sprong has served as the 13th forward for much of the season but scored a goal and two assists in the seven games Eller has missed and may well have done enough to justify staying in.

Regardless of who comes out, the return of Eller is certainly a boost to the lineup as it provides the team with four natural centers again. This means the other three centers won't have to take extra shifts on Eller's line and that T.J. Oshie will be able to remain at wing and not have to take shifts at center.

Coverage for Tuesday's game begins at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.