DETROIT – Darren Helm’s continuous up-and-down issues with his back took another turn downward.
Helm has once again had to stop skating and just focus on off-ice training.
“I’m not skating, just doing rehab and trying to get strong again,” Helm said. “I really haven’t been strong for a while. That’s one of the causes for these setbacks and I have to continue to keep training and get strong and then go out onto the ice.”
Helm, 26, last skated prior to Game 3 in the Wings’ first round series with Anaheim on May 4 and that time was cut short because it didn’t feel right.
The doctors shut him down after that.
“Something happened and I was in quite a bit of pain, so I’ve stayed off,” Helm said. “I haven’t been on since. I probably feel decent enough to go and twirl around. That’s probably the hardest part for me is knowing that I can go and probably twirl around, but at the same time we know it hasn’t been successful in the past. We just have to find a different way to deal with it.
“I try not to think about it or talk about it too often, but that’s the case,” Helm continued. “I feel better a little bit each day by doing what everyone is telling me what to do. So it’s progress. As long as I stay off the ice for a while it will get better, I hope.”
Helm has been sidelined pretty much the entire season with a slightly torn disc in his back.
“I think it all depends on the weight room and where I’m at there and how I’m feeling and what I can and can’t do,” Helm said when asked about if he has a timetable for returning on to the ice. “We’ll see from there. We haven’t talked about that at all.
Helm, who has played one game this year, works only on an elliptical because sitting on a stationary bike hurts.
“I feel pretty good and feel that I can go out onto the ice and get going, but we’ve proven three or four times already that that doesn’t work,” Helm said. “Just a different approach and hopefully this one works.”
Helm continues to be a mainstay in the Wings’ locker room.
“They’ve been great,” Helm said of his teammates. “They’ve always been good. They’ve always been curious about how I’ve been doing and they’ve given me support and trying to find ways to make me feel better. You just can’t ask for anything more from a team like this.”
There are no plans thus far for Helm to have surgery this offseason.
“We haven’t talked about that,” Helm said. “They haven’t found anything that warrants to go under the knife. We’re just doing what we’re doing. It’s slow and not fun, but it needs to be done as I look forward my future and the few years that I have left here.”
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.