Howard gets a day of rest; Babcock not sure who’ll start between pipes Thursday against Blues

DETROIT — Jimmy Howard didn’t practice Wednesday and his status for Thursday’s game won’t be known until the Wings’ arrive in St. Louis.

“I’ll talk to Howie, see how he’s doing and then go from there,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously, he’s been getting too much (work), he’s played great for us, but we’re giving up too much the last couple nights so get him freshened up.”

Petr Mrazek and Joey MacDonald shared the duties in practice.

Mrazek has played well in Grand Rapids, while MacDonald just resumed practicing after dealing with a bad back.

“Today was the first time that I had my own net, so it was good to work on the cardio and timing and stuff like that,” said MacDonald, who added he’ll see a back specialist Friday to see if he’s cleared to resume playing. “Every day feels a little better. I’d say by the end of the weekend if everything keeps going (I’d be ready) maybe Friday or the weekend or something.”

MacDonald hasn’t played since March 14.

Jonas Gustavsson (groin) skated on his own before practice, but there is still no timetable for his return.

“First of all I’ve got to be back to where I can do a full practice, and maybe a couple in a row, and then after that it’s just a matter of when you’re ready to play,” Gustavsson said. “It’s really tough to speculate how many days from now that’s going to be. I feel positive today. It was another step in the right direction.”

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