The Los Angeles Kings have been without defenseman Matt Greene since Oct. 13, and they’re not going to be getting him back anytime soon.
According to Kings Insider Jon Rosen, Greene is set to undergo surgery on his right shoulder Thursday and Los Angeles doesn’t yet have a timetable on when the veteran defenseman could return to the lineup. The current status of Greene is that he’ll be out “long-term,” wrote Rosen.
The injury to Greene first occurred in the pre-season, but he was able to play through it and started the season on the blueline for the Kings. However, by the third game of the campaign, Greene saw limited ice time due to the injury. While he remained on the bench for the entirety of the Kings’ Oct. 13 contest against the Vancouver Canucks, Greene played a mere 8:49.
After the contest, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Greene wasn’t dealing with a “physical issue,” according to NHL.com’s Curtis Zupke, but the 32-year-old defenseman hasn’t suited up for a single game since the shutout loss to Vancouver.
It was reported by Rosen Monday that Greene saw a doctor regarding the injury, and it appears the surgery is a must in order to get Greene back on the ice. If Greene can’t play again this season, it would be the second time in the past four seasons that he has played fewer than six games in an entire campaign for the Kings. A back injury in 2012-13 kept him out of 42 games and the entire post-season.
While it’s not the best-case scenario for the Kings to lose one of their veteran depth defensemen, they’ve managed quite well without Greene and have gotten good enough contributions from off-season signing Christian Ehrhoff and depth defenseman Jamie McBain that dealing with Greene’s absence hasn’t hurt the club much, if at all. If Greene is able to return this season, he’s likely to simply slot back into the sixth-defenseman spot and continue to play a limited role.
Over the past several seasons in Los Angeles, Greene’s on-ice role has diminished. He went from averaging more than 19 minutes per game upon arriving to the Kings prior to the 2008-09 season, but logged just 15:48 per game in 2014-15. He inked a four-year, $10-million contract with the Kings in June 2014.
Greene has scored 15 goals and 65 points in 438 games for the Kings since being dealt to Los Angeles in June 2008. He has been a member of both Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning teams, and contributed two goals and six points while averaging more than 16 minutes of ice time per game during the 2012 Cup run.