Helm suffers setback; Bertuzzi still hopes to return

DETROIT — Quick update from a very limited Wings dressing room.

Forward Darren Helm suffered a setback from his back injury and is probably out for Wednesday’s home game against the Minnesota Wild.

“I think we’re dealing with a minor setback,” Helm said. “It didn’t feel too good, traveling, sitting down a lot, I don’t know if that was the cause of it. We were pushing pretty hard on the ice and added in a few new exercises. I don’t know if it was one of the combination of it all, but the last couple of days it’s just not feeling the way it was earlier after the shots. Hopefully this is just a minor, minor, minor setback.”

Helm skated for less than 10 minutes at City Ice Arena in Detroit with just a handful of teammates.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t bug me on the ice,” Helm said. “I think if I was just going out there and skating by myself with no pucks I think I could have stayed out there a little longer. Shooting kind of aggravated it a little bit so I’ll stop doing that. We’ll do the same thing we’ve been doing, playing it by ear and taking it one day at a time.”

Helm has played one 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.

“I think I’m doing a little better with this one (mentally),” Helm said. “I don’t think it’s as bad as 2-3 weeks ago. I’m hoping it’s a small thing and I aggravated by doing a little too much work and too much traveling. I’m hoping it’s just a couple of days.”

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

Todd Bertuzzi also talked for the first time since his back injury.

“I don’t have an answer, I wish I did because that’s the frustrating part,” Bertuzzi said when asked if there was a time frame for his return. “If you have a knee injury or something you know how long it’s going to take, but when it’s the back you have no clue.

“Game four or five my back was hurting a bit,” Bertuzzi added. “Then, that play (against St. Louis), it got tweaked or whatever, but by the third period I lost all feeling and everything in my right leg. I had not strength and after the game it got worse and worse and by the time I got home I was done. I went to the hospital for four days, kind of been every two weeks getting needles and resting.”

Bertuzzi, who has played seven games this season, spent four days in the hospital because of the pain.

“That was the only thing that would control the pain,” he said. “Everything kind of came down the front and all that. No pills could really take away the pain so I went there. I’ve been doing the elliptical for a couple of days now and gradually try and get better every day and see if I can get to the point where I can get back on the ice and start skating.”

Bertuzzi has tried to skate once since the injury, five days ago, and his back wasn’t strong enough and where it needs to be.

“I’d like to get back because the only other option is going to get it fixed,” Bertuzzi said. “That’s where I’m at right now. I’m going to try and rehab and get it strong enough and back to being strong enough to where I can play. I don’t want to play one game and be back to where I’ve been. I want to be able to last the remainder of the games and all that.

“It’s frustrating,” Bertuzzi added. “I wish I had more answers.”


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