After suffering an apparent injury to his left leg in Thursday’s home opener defenseman Jack Hillen will undergo surgery Friday Coach Adam Oates said.

Oates doesn’t believe Hillen’s injury is career threatening but did say he expects the 27-year-old blueliner to miss months. The exact nature of Hillen’s injury is unknown. The Capitals will only describe his condition as a lower body injury.

Pressed on the length of time Hillen is expected to miss Oates said he wouldn’t go so far as to say it is a season-threatening injury.

“I wouldn’t say that right now I think it’s too early to tell” Oates said. “But it’s going to be an extended period of time.”
Video of the hit by Lance Bouma on Hillen
Where the Capitals go from here in terms of organizing their defensive depth is still a little up in the air. Oates said he hasn’t decided whether to play waiver-wire pickup Alexander Urbom or to put Steve Oleksy who sat out the first two contests as a healthy scratch on Saturday in Dallas.

Oates prefers players to skate on their strong side. He doesn’t like when defensemen skate on their weak side because of how it can make certain routine plays more complicated or inefficient. Urbom is a left-handed shot like Hillen. Oleksy is a right-handed shot and would have to play his off-side.

“I don’t like it. It puts guys in a difficult position. I’ve got to talk to Calle [Johansson] more today as we go to Dallas and talk to [Urbom] more” Oates said. “I haven’t really had a chance too long to sit down with him about how he’s feeling.”