DETROIT >> Darren Helm took a baby step Friday in his hopes of returning to the Detroit Red Wings lineup from a concussion.
Helm participated in the team’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena prior to the game against the Edmonton Oilers.
“I didn’t really get the heart beating too hard, still good to be out there in different elements,” Helm said afterwards. “I haven’t had any bad headaches or long-lasting ones. Every once in a while I get a slight headache or slight pressure up there but nothing where it’s been a huge concern to keep me off the ice or keep me from moving forward.”
Helm was diagnosed with a concussion by the same specialist the saw Patrick Eaves and Johan Franzen.
“I’ve been keeping close contact with him about my progress each day,” Helm said. “He says things are going well. Hopefully (Friday) will be another positive and I won’t feel anything tonight and we can keep pushing forward.”
Helm practiced on his own Thursday and needs to check with the doctors before taking part in a full practice.
Helm was injured in Ottawa on Feb. 27 when he hit his head hard on the ice. Later in the game he was grazed in the chin which also could have triggered it.
In the Wings’ next game his vision became blurry.
“That’s why we kind of stopped and re-evaluated,” Helm said. “I don’t know if I’ll know exactly how good that is until I start amping up my workouts and my skating because I did take two practices before (game at New Jersey) and had no issues. When I got to that game situation where I really going, that’s when the vision problems started happening. We just keep moving slowly with this and at some point we’ll test and see if that’s an issue.”
Franzen and Justin Abdelkader have missed time this season due to concussions.
“I’ve got a couple more days to go until we start thinking about getting back in the lineup, but anytime you get back on the ice it’s exciting,” said Helm, who hopes to travel to Chicago with the team. “That would be my goal (to return next week), just from watching other guys with concussions and head injuries, can’t really put a finger on when you think you’ll be back. We thought Mule was going to be back for the Olympics but he kept having complications and couldn’t go. Abby had one this year, he was good to go after a week and a half, so you don’t know how your body is going to react.”
Helm, who missed his fifth straight game Friday, has played in just 29 games this season.
Just this season alone, Helm has been sidelined with injuries to his groin, shoulder and back.
He was a last minute scratch prior to the Winter Classic due to the groin injury.
Helm returned to the lineup on Nov. 2 after playing in just two games over the last 19 months.
To begin the season, Helm was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.