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Posted at 12:33 PM ET, 11/25/2010

Mike Knuble "ready to play" with broken jaw

By Katie Carrera

Mike Knuble said he expects to be ready to play on Friday when the Capitals host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center after a shot hit him in the face on Nov. 19 in Atlanta and broke his jaw forcing him to miss the past three games.

Aside from a jaw shield, at first glance he looks like the same regular Knuble. But upon closer inspection, you can see the metal brackets and metal plate that are holding his jaw together and stitches on the left side of his chin where the puck struck him. Knuble's no stranger to injuries of all types, but this is the first time he's broken his jaw. The good news, though is he can talk and eat without having everything blended first.

"I'm lucky. Quintin Laing last year had it all wired shut, and that would be very claustrophobic I feel like, if you're not able to open your mouth," said Knuble, who spent the past three days skating with Caps strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish. "I'm able to eat pretty well. I lost a couple pounds but just because I can't snack. It will be a while before I can chew up a steak or something, but I've been eating Ok. These brackets make your teeth sore more than anything."

Knuble suffered the injury with about 12-minutes elapsed in the second period against the Thrashers when Eric Fehr's shot hit him squarely in the face. (Knuble joked on Thursday that Fehr owed him dinner, once he could chew properly.)

"If it was probably an inch higher I probably would have lost a bunch of teeth instead," Knuble said. "And that might be a little worse, be a lot more pain but it happens."

As for the jaw shield, Knuble said it's not much of an adjustment on the ice with the only exception being if he looks down and the plastic guard hits him in the shoulder or collar bone. Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn't give away any of his plans for lines on Friday, so we'll have to see where Knuble might fit in after the combination of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich did so well against Carolina.

Other practice notes:
--Boudreau said Tyler Sloan has been placed on injured reserve, which means he must miss at least seven days from his last appearance (Nov. 22 against New Jersey). If Mike Green or any other defensemen isn't able to play against the Lightning the Capitals will recall Brian Fahey from Hershey again.

--Green said he wasn't sure if he'd be back in the lineup on Friday adding only that while sometimes feels fine, this nagging injury can limit his game significantly.

--Michal Neuvirth said he feels ready to go if needed. He tweaked his groin in the pre-game skate against Atlanta and was fighting through the days on the weekend but that it was a very minor problem that just required rest.

--Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Tom Poti did not take part in practice this morning and Boudreau said it was a maintenance day for all three.

--Lines this morning for who was on the ice were: Laich-Backstrom-Knuble, Fleischmann-Johansson-Fehr, Chimera-Gordon-Hendricks, King-Steckel-Bradley. Defense: Schultz-Green, Alzner-Carlson, Erskine-Sloan.

--Don't forget, tomorrow's tilt with Tampa Bay is at 5 p.m. and there's no morning skate.

By Katie Carrera  | November 25, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Injuries, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green, Mike Knuble  
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Comments

I wish I could honestly say I'm excited about his return. However he's been a pretty big disappointment.

Posted by: FLDave | November 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear that Knuble's broken jaw is not as bad as Laing's injury of last year. And that he can eat.

Personal speculation of what the lines should be:

1) Assume we'll leave Laich/Backstrom/Ovy as is since it worked so well this past game.

2) Move Semin back to LW. The whole point of moving him to RW anyway was for him to get more ice time when Ovi took extra long shifts. But with Ovi now moving to RW, move Semin to the LW. So, Knuble can move into that vacated slot. So our new second line will now be Semin/Johansson/Knuble

3) Third line remains as is: Flash/Gordon/Fehr. (Hope they do well against Ming of Mongo on Friday or, more accurately, the 'Ning)

4) We now can choose among Chimmer, Bradley, Steckel, and Hendricks for 4th line. I assume King still sits

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 25, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hope to see Green back tomorrow. So now our pairings are:

Green/Schultz
Carlson/Alzner
Poti/Erskine

Poti is also good with Carlson and Schultz but probably the best one of our "current" people to be with Erskine. Alzner and Erskine just doesn't seem to work at all.

Of course, I've been calling for the acquisition of a guy who could serve as part of our 2nd pairing -- with Poti. (Mostly since it's the least costly possible upgrade for us that wouldn't be too costly.)

And on our former defensemen, Morrisonn is not having that great a year in Buffalo. And Jurcina's on Injured Reserve with the Islanders.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 25, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

How can Sloan be skating on a line with Erskine if Sloan is on the IR?

Posted by: 417fan | November 25, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

How can Sloan be skating on a line with Erskine this morning if Sloan is on the IR?

Posted by: 417fan | November 25, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

i can't imagine how one plays a head-rattling sport like hockey with a broken jaw.

that's just me, though

Posted by: j762 | November 25, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@417fan

Unless Sloan felt that he wasn't really healthy enough to play after doing practice.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 25, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Laich/Backy/Ov stay together for the next 4 or 5 games and see what they can do...but thats probably just wishful thinking

Posted by: c_majors | November 25, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Makes sense, the 2 guys laughing it up after the NJ loss, get the day off while everybody else (including the guys with families) practice on Thanksgiving.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 25, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it: how in the hell can a guy play with a broken jaw? What if he gets cold-cocked into the glass, or shouldered right on the button in open ice, or any of a thousand other hits, accidental or intentional high sticks, etc etc etc to the jaw area. He's going to do the Knubie thing and go hang around the crease? Get OUT!

Posted by: PaulfromNorthernVa | November 26, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse

regular season game #23 and BB would rather jeopardize a hurt Knuble than play a healthy DJK....go figure

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 26, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

regular season game #23 and BB would rather jeopardize a hurt Knuble than play a healthy DJK....go figure

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 26, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Against a team like Tampa, our only real competition in the division, I would do the same thing. So, I can figure that one out very easily.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | November 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Mike Knuble is going to play despite having a broken Jaw and this really surprises some people. I do not know how this can be a surprise to anyone this is not the Devils and Brodeur Sitting out with a bruised elbow here.
This a player on a team that needs its players to help keep the momentum going and continue winning games unlike in New Jersey where the players are so disgruntled they are starting to imagine injuries in order to not have to go out game in and game out and perform for the silly owners that have basically slapped the rest of the players in the face with the Signing of Kovalchuk at such a ridiculous amount that it has already resulted in a couple of games where the team was unable to dress a full team,and now the players are feeling that if Kovalchuk is so important to the owners well then he can go out there and play by himself for all they care

Posted by: TJTHEDJ60 | November 26, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

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