The Washington Capitals may be without one of their most study point producers to start the season.

Forward Nicklas Backstrom has been sidelined since the beginning of training camp due to ongoing rehabilitation on his hip.

Capitals forward Lars Eller, who is dealing with a lower-body injury of his own, told reporters Tuesday that Backstrom's absence could stretch into the start of the regular season.

"I think we are prepared to be without Nick for a little bit. That wouldn't surprise me, I won't be surprised if he is not ready," Eller said.

The 33-year-old Backstrom had 15 goals and 38 assists in 53 games last season for the Caps, his 14th in Washington. General manager Brian MacLellan told reporters last week that he believed Backstrom was on the road to recovery.

Eller left practice early Monday but described his injury as "nothing serious."

The Capitals are scheduled to continue their pre-season schedule Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.