Helm gets good news with possible ligament strain in back; Mrazek to make NHL debut between pipes

The Wings may get the boost they’ve missed pretty much all season to their third and fourth line of forwards.

Darren Helm received some good news from a back specialist he saw Wednesday according to Wings general manager Ken Holland.

“After all the tests were done, he’s very confident there’s nothing significant,” Holland said in a phone interview.

Holland said it’s likely a small ligament strain. He was given an injection and there was immediate relief.

“The doctor is optimistic he’s found the problem,” Holland said.

Helm will be off through at least Monday before trying to test his back out.

“He had an MRI before and they ruled out a disc problem,” Holland said. “He had a bone scan and they ruled out a fracture. So a whole bunch of things have been ruled out.”

Helm has played on game this season.

Helm has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.

He missed the Wings’ week-long training camp and the first three games of the season with a back injury, which was the first of his playing career.

He hit by a puck on Nov. 2 during an informal skate in Troy, breaking an orbital bone.

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.

The Wings have missed Helm’s speed and last season coach Mike Babcock called him the best third-line center in the league.

Petr Mrazek will make his NHL debut in goal.

Jimmy Howard, who missed practice on Wednesday, had started every game this season.


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