Nicklas Backstrom undergoes hip resurfacing surgery with no timeline for return

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Backstrom undergoes hip surgery with no timeline for return originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom underwent left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday, the team announced Saturday afternoon. He will begin a “lengthy” recovery process immediately.

Per Cleveland Clinic, hip resurfacing is a form of hip replacement surgery and it “uses implants to ease hip pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis and other conditions. The implants take the place of damaged tissue and bone, allowing for more fluid movement.”

At the team’s breakdown day a month ago, Backstrom, 34, said there were decisions to be made about what was next in relation to the status of his chronic left hip injury. He later added that it would never be 100% again.

Backstrom’s hip was surgically repaired in 2015 and he missed the beginning of the 2021-22 season while recovering. He returned to the Caps in December but struggled to regain his usual level of play, clearly ailed by the nagging injury. Teammates commended Backstrom throughout the season, commenting often on how much work he had to put in merely to get on the ice.

In 47 regular season games, Backstrom scored 31 points and had 25 assists. Toward the end of the season, however, he took a handful of maintenance days to make the hip as manageable as possible to get on the ice.

“He’s a warrior,” longtime teammate Alex Ovechkin said on breakdown day in May. “He’s a tough man. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be better next year. Obviously, everybody knows what he means to the team, for the organization, for us. He’s a leader and I hope he’s going to be better."

Backstrom's injury will mean significant financial complications for Washington. He carries a $9.2 million hit on the salary cap for the next three seasons, the second-highest on the team behind Ovechkin's $9.5 million cap hit and the 28th highest in the entire NHL. Without a timeline given for a return, the Capitals’ future for the 2022-23 season and beyond is now uncertain.

In 15 NHL seasons, all in Washington, the franchise icon has played 1,058 games and scored 264 goals with 747 assists. In team history, Backstrom ranks second in games played, fourth in goals, first in assists and second in points. He is 91st on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 1,011 career points.