TRAVERSE CITY – Darren Helm will begin training camp like how he spent most of last season, watching from the sidelines.
“I’d love to be, I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not,” Helm said when asked if he thought he’d be able to take part in any part of the Wings’ training camp that begins Thursday and runs to Tuesday at Centre I.C.E. in Traverse City. “We’ll see.”
It’s not his back that’s keeping him off the ice, but a groin strain he suffered last week during an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena.
“It’s kind of like a groin tear, groin strain so I just can’t,” Helm said. “It’s going to be a couple of weeks where I’m not going to be able to get the physical contact or do stuff that I wanted to do. (My back has) kind of taken a backseat right now to this groin and it feels alright right now.”
Helm had just begun ramping up his workouts on and off the ice since returning from having a slightly torn disc in his back that never required surgery.
“No one has said anything about time lines or anything,” Helm said. “The groin is going to be a little bit, got to get that feeling good and then I’ve got to make sure my back is OK. I think we’re losing at least a week of contact and physical active I wanted for my back at camp to get ready.
“I’m not worried about any timelines I just want to get better,” Helm continued. “We’re doing as much as we can without aggravating either the groin or back.”
Helm played just one game last season.
“He’s been off for a few days now, groins are 1-3 weeks, so we’ll see in a few days,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
Helm remembered having an issue with his groin a few years ago.
“It was actually near the start of my debacle of my injuries the last two years,” Helm said. “I can’t really remember too much. I don’t think I missed that much, maybe a couple of games, but I didn’t miss any ice time.”
Wings coach Mike Babcock is going on as if Helm won’t be ready for the start of the season.
“The way I look at it he hasn’t played in a year and a half basically,” Babcock said. “If we get him it’s a bonus.”
Helm, whose back issues began before training camp began last season, has been on the wrong end of a rash of injuries of late.
He was 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.