Defenseman Matt Greene reached another milestone in his rehabilitation and recovery from back surgery Monday when he participated in his first full-contact practice with his teammates. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Greene was given medical clearance and would travel with the team to San Jose for Tuesday’s game against the Sharks.
“I was hoping, well, not hoping but originally, I wanted him to play tomorrow but that’s not the case,” Sutter said. “That was his first (day of contact), yeah. I don’t think there a real answer. It’s more how he responds to it. If you have a day where you have a setback, then it’s all back. There’s no way of saying, ‘That’s the day.’ “
Said Greene of his back: “It’s the same. It’s the same as when I talked to you guys last week. I am going to travel. It’s just the same thing, skate and rehab. That’s not going to change. … They haven’t told me anything (new), just keep skating. The team’s playing well. If they need me I’ll get back in the lineup. That’s the most I’ve done just because we finally got a chance to do a full practice. The guys are playing every other night and it’s tough to get somebody willing to do some contact. It’s good to get out there today with two days between games. You’ve got to play without fear.”
Greene was injured in the Kings’ loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on opening day Jan. 19.