Carlo Colaiacovo: “Getting a second opinion on it really helped.”

DETROIT – Wings defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo is glad he got a second opinion on his injured left shoulder.

Now he hopes his return to the lineup follows.

“Getting a second opinion on it really helped,” said Colaiacovo, who saw his personal doctor in Toronto 10 days ago. “He saw some things there that were of some concern. I’ve dealt with them, I’ve treated them. I’ve been getting myself to the point where I’m close to 100 percent.

“It’s been a long time but at this point there’s no sense rushing it back,” Colaiacovo added. “I’ve been out this long I need to make sure it’s 100 percent ready when I get back there. The season’s winding down, the games are getting more important, the last thing I want to do is force myself out there and put myself in a vulnerable position.”

Colaiacovo was injured during the second game of the season and hasn’t played since.

“It’s been real frustrating, both mentally and physically, through this whole time but I’ve got to credit the training staff and the doctors, they’ve been real good and real patient with me, even management and coaches, they’ve understood the difficulty I’ve been going through, understand that I’ve been working my rear off on and off the ice,” Colaiacovo said. “I’m really doing everything I can to get this thing to where I need to be. I’m at that point now where it’s really close and I’m hoping that these next coming days I can give it a real shot.”

Colaiacovo first injured his shoulder during the lockout at the Spengler Cup on a hit by teammate Damien Brunner.

He then re-injured the same shoulder on a check against the boards in Columbus.

Colaiacovo said the original injury to his left shoulder had completely healed before starting the season.

“This is a fairly new injury to me,” Colaiacovo said. “I never really had a shoulder issue like this. It’s amazing, especially in hockey, how much your shoulder has an impact in what you do, striding, contact, shooting, passing and stick-handling. Everything you do with the puck involves you moving your shoulder and using it and just talking to different guys who’ve had similar injuries, they said it takes a long time. Obviously, finding out what I found out put a clear picture in my mind of why I was feeling the way I was feeling.”

Colaiacovo, who signed a two-year deal worth $2.5 million a season, has been knocked for his inability to stay healthy. He’s yet to play more than 67 games in any season.

“Conditioning is not going to be an issue,” Colaiacovo said. “I’ve been skating and training real hard both on and off the ice. I’ll be pretty close to where I need to be. Obviously, being in game shape is totally different, the timing of everything. Obviously, the speed of guys in practice is nowhere near the speed of guys in the game. But I’m confident in my abilities, that when I get out there the rust will settle pretty quickly and I’ll be back to where I need to be.”

He’s also has been able to get in some physical contact at practice.

“I’ve always said I was close but I just needed to get over the hump and I couldn’t figure out what was stopping me from getting over the hump,” Colaiacovo said. “Over these last two weeks we figured out what the issue was. We’ve taken care of it and we’ve dealt with it and now I’ve been able to take the strides I needed to take to make sure I’m ready.”

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