Injured Wings appear closer to returning; Babcock not ready to count on them just yet

DETROIT – Quick update from Detroit Red Wings practice, which took place at Detroit City Arena.

Wings coach Mike Babcock and no real update on the status of his injured players – Pavel Datsyuk (lower body), Daniel Alfredsson (back spasms), Darren Helm (groin), Johan Franzen (concussion), Jimmy Howard (hip flexor) and Jonathan Ericsson (ribs).

“There are a lot of guys that are dealing with different injuries, a lot of flu things, just injuries that come with the game,” Helm said. “It’s a rough game, a lot of strain on your body. I don’t think it’s common to see this many guys go out for this long but it’s part of it. We’ve just got to find ways to continue to win. A lot of the young guys are coming up and doing well.”

Helm said he’s still day-to-day.

“Not bad, not great,” Helm said when asked how he felt. “Not good enough, but getting better. I’m just making sure I don’t have any more setbacks.

“I need to get a couple good skates under my belt, one really good one and then I’ll go,” Helm continued. “I don’t know when that’s going to be. I’m doing my best to keep coming to the rink, staying positive, doing what I can and doing my job to try to get ready.”

Ericsson hopes to return Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Kings.

“I think I’m going to feel some discomfort for a while but it’s just a matter of just make sure it goes forward with the time too here,” Ericsson said. “I don’t want to get any setbacks and have to drag along with that for the rest of the year. I guess there’s no rush. It doesn’t look like I’m aiming for Thursday right now, maybe Saturday’s game. I don’t know yet, we’ll see.”

Franzen competed hard again at practice, but said he’s still suffering from dizziness on the ice.

“I didn’t feel great today,” Franzen said afterwards. “I’ve been doing all that. That’s not the issue. I get a little dizzy from all the movement. I have a hard time focusing and stuff like that. I’m going to keep practicing and hopefully one day it’s going to be gone.”

Alfredsson was the only one of the injured guys, along with Stephen Weiss (sports hernia), didn’t practice.

Henrik Zetterberg was given the day off.

“(A) maintenance day,” Babcock said. “He’s had a lot of them.”

Howard said he feels fine and doesn’t see why he couldn’t start Thursday on the road against the New York Rangers.

He did split time between the pipes at practice with Gustavsson, while Petr Mrazek had a net to himself.

Gustavsson took another step in the right direction.

“It’s good to be able to skate a little bit with the team,” Gustavsson said. “It felt good but I don’t know if I’m going to be back Thursday or this weekend or when it is.”


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