DETROIT – Darren Helm took another step in the right direction Wednesday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Helm took part in a morning skate with teammates for the first time since injuring his groin on Sept. 6.
“I feel a lot better, pretty good,” Helm said afterwards. “Today was the first time I’ve skated with the team. Feels pretty good to get out there, I felt good, so good progress.
“Still working on the groin, I still wasn’t going 100 percent out there,” Helm continued. “I was going pretty good, but it’s something that I still need to monitor, keep an eye on and just keep rehabbing and getting better.”
Helm says it’s the best he’s felt in a couple of weeks.
He has yet to be cleared for contact due to his back, but he feels that could come soon.
“I think it’s probably around the corner,” Helm said. “I haven’t had a real test yet. You know how I work now, there’s no date. I’ll be ready when I’m ready.”
Asked if there’s a chance he could play in one of the two final preseason games this weekend Helm said, “Never say never, but I would say very unlikely.”
Helm was unable to take part in any of the Wings’ week-long training camp in Traverse City.
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 when the groin injury occurred.
Helm played just one game last season.
“He’s missed two years of playoffs and one full season,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday. “It is what it is.”
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.