Bertuzzi says he’ll return Thursday against Nashville

DETROIT – Quick up from the Detroit Red Wings morning skate prior to tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Forward Todd Bertuzzi won’t play tonight as originally thought, but he plans to play Thursday at home against Nashville.

“I’ll be ready to play tomorrow,” Bertuzzi said. “I needed another hard skate. Like I said before, a week ago, I can’t come in and not be ready to play a full 60 (minutes) and help out, contribute, be big down low, finish my checks. I needed another hard skate and that’s what we just finished.

“I haven’t pushed it,” Bertuzzi added. “I’ve been skating, but I haven’t pushed it as hard as I possibly can. I want to make sure it was right. I went and got more therapy and it seems like it’s working. This gives me an extra day to get stronger and get my wind in and coming in on a back-to-back day may be good for the team to get some fresh legs and enthusiastic player.”

Bertuzzi has missed most of the season due to an injured back that caused him to have weakness in his legs.

“It’s just getting up to speed,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “You haven’t been in and suddenly you want to get in. The team doesn’t practice. We haven’t practiced this week and you want to practice with the team. You want a full out practice and I can’t remember the last time that happened so that’s the problem with it. But as soon as he’s comfortable mentally and physically then we can try and get him in the lineup.”

Bertuzzi has played seven games this season, registering two goals and an assist.

“I really wanted to play today, but I needed to skate hard with Tom (Renney) there in the end,” Bertuzzi said. “I needed to do one-on-one drills with the defenseman. I needed to get some pushing and shoving down low. I needed to get crosschecked in the back. I needed to be able to spin off and needed to be able to stop and start and take off with the puck. Having my third visit to the doctor I needed to make sure I tested it properly and got it taken care of. The last thing I wanted to do was for them to take a fresh guy out and have me play one period because something didn’t go right. Like I said before the team is bigger than any individual and you have to approach it that way.”

So with that there are no changes to the lineup.

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