DETROIT — Quick update from Wings practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.
Wings coach Mike Babcock is getting to the point where he’s not expecting to have forward Darren Helm back this season.
“Well he’s not going to play hockey this year we don’t think,” Babcock said after practice. “We have to get ourselves ready for the playoffs and be ready to go on without him.”
Helm has been sidelined pretty much the entire season with a slightly torn disc in his back.
“I’m trying to stay positive, I think my spirits are a little bit higher than they have been,” Helm said. “It feels better, but I still can’t really put any time on what’s going on.
“I’ve been skating for a while, working out for a while, working really hard,” Helm continued. “It’s just that I still feel pain, feel a lot of discomfort. When that stops … I don’t know if one day I’ll wake up and feel great or it’s going to be kind of gradual thing.”
Helm has played one game this year.
“I don’t really have anything else to add,” Helm said. “Just going by how I feel. I’ve been feeling decent. There’s nothing else I can really add to that.”
Helm skated on his own Tuesday and continues to be day-to-day based on how he feels.
“Each day we do a little more and go by how we feel,” Helm said. “I feel like there has been a change since the last couple weeks but don’t know what’s going on.
“I’ve been skating since they went to Anaheim (trip), I was skating by myself on the ice, just (warmup suit), when they got back I was skating in full equipment, then I didn’t go on last trip,” Helm added. “I stayed behind to skate.”
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.