Datsyuk opts for rehab over surgery to repair ailing left knee

DETROIT >> Will he or won’t he need surgery?

It looks like he won’t.

Pavel Datsyuk appears to be leaning toward an aggressive rehab to strengthen his ailing left knee, according to Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

“As of right now I don’t think he’s having surgery,” Holland said in a phone interview. “He’s begun some offseason workouts in Detroit. We’ve asked him to stay in communication.”

Holland said coach Mike Babcock introduced Datsyuk to a local trainer to begin a rehab program to strengthen his left knee in order to avoid going under the knife.

“He’s pushing hard and we’re going to continue to monitor,” Holland said. “If nothing changes, he won’t have surgery.”

Holland added that Datsyuk will be re-evaluated in possibly a couple of weeks.

“We asked him to push hard,” Holland said. “At the end of the year he had no pain. That’s why the doctors said they can’t recommend surgery if he doesn’t have pain.

“The hockey people felt he had a quickness to his stride in playoffs,” Holland added.

Datsyuk will be in Detroit for another month to hopefully help fix the ailment.

“As we go along, if he has no discomfort or pain we’ll do no surgery,” Holland said.

The Wings announced they were shutting Datsyuk down for three weeks at the trade deadline due to inflammation in his ailing left knee, which wound up being four weeks.

He missed 16 straight games, but returned for the final six of the regular season.

Detroit went 8-6-2 in those 16 games without their shifty forward.

Datsyuk, who turns 36 on July 20, had 17 goals and 20 assists in 45 regular season games.

“He has an ability to change the game,” Babcock said last season.

“He slows the game down,” Darren Helm said of Datsyuk. “He plays with so much poise and skill he backs the other team’s D off a lot.”

Datsyuk, who wound up missing 30 of the final 40 regular season games, played all five games in the first round series with the Boston Bruins, leading the team with three goals and five points.

Datsyuk played for Russia at the Olympics.

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