DETROIT – Wings forward Darren Helm has ruled himself out for at least the first three games of the season due to an injured back.
“I’m feeling good, since it happened each day it keeps getting better and better,” Helm said Friday morning. “I’m going to go on the road with the guys on this trip and hopefully get a skate in. I don’t think I’ll be playing Saturday, Monday or Tuesday.”
Helm hasn’t skated since Jan. 10.
“I can touch my toes,” said Helm, who was placed on short-term injured reserve retroactive to the injury occurring. “My motion is pretty much close to back. It’s still a little stiff or sore when I come up, not too bad. The next step, we went fairly hard today and we’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”
Helm, who said this is his first back injury, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.
On March 17, he missed the final 10 regular season games with a sprained MCL. Then, in his first game back, the playoff opener against Nashville, he had tendons in his forearm sliced by a skate. He was also hit by a puck on Nov. 2 during an informal skate in Troy, breaking an orbital bone.
“I want to play,” Helm said. “I’m pretty upset this happened at this time, after a lockout, it’s a short season, missing games is frustrating.”
Todd Bertuzzi will miss the opener because of an illness according to Wings coach Mike Babcock.
“Todd’s not making the trip, he’s sick,” Babcock said. “They’re going to give him an IV or something and he probably join us tomorrow or the next day. If not he’ll join us in Columbus.”
Wings general manager Ken Holland said Friday morning that forward Patrick Eaves can resume his playing career after getting cleared by doctors Thursday night.
“As we’ve seen around the league, these concussions can last a long time,” Holland said. “He has started to feel better and better. The doctors gave him the green light to play and that’s pretty good news for Patty.”
Eaves hasn’t played since he was hit in the head going down to block on shot on Nov. 26, 2011 against Nashville. Along with experiencing concussion-like symptoms he suffered a broken jaw.
Once Helm returns and if the Wings don’t have any other injuries, they’ll have to make a decision up front. And that decision will be to either waive or try and trade Jan Mursak or Cory Emmerton.
“We are deep up front,” Holland said. “We’ll have to make a decision up front.
“It took a year for Patty to get back to normal,” Holland continued. “He’s been a real good player for us, a good penalty killer. He’s chipped in between 12 and 14 goals a year. He’s played in the top six when we’ve needed him. He’s got a good set of hands. The obvious question is, where’s your game at? It’ll get better the more he plays.”
Jakub Kindl (groin) won’t play in the opener Saturday in St. Louis.
Holland said Kindl had tests and it showed he had some trauma there. He could be read Monday for the game in Columbus.