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At the Rink blog

Eaves may not return to Wings' lineup this season

Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 4:44 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

DETROIT -- Patrick Eaves' fractured jaw is healed, but he still has lingering concussion symptoms from getting hit in the right side of the head by a slap shot in late November that might keep the Detroit Red Wings forward out the rest of the season.

Eaves needed surgery to repair the broken jaw that he suffered on Nov. 26 at Joe Louis Arena late in a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators. He was struck while blocking a slap shot at close range by Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi. It appeared to hit Eaves square in the ear hole of his helmet as he positioned his body to block the blast.

Eaves, who skated on his own without equipment on Thursday and does light conditioning work off the ice, immediately went down. He was carried off by a stretcher and taken to a local hospital for further treatment. The good news is the bone has healed after surgery to fix the jaw, but the bad news is that painful headaches and other concussion-like symptoms remain.

"I'm dealing with a lot of headaches right now, but yeah, it's getting better, slowly," Eaves told Bill Roose, managing editor of DetroitRedwings.com, on Thursday morning. "I have [a headache] pretty much all of the time."

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said on Thursday that he's going ahead with plans for the rest of this season thinking Eaves won't be in the playing group until next season.

"He's had concussion-like symptoms, probably had a concussion," Holland said. "He's feeling better every day. He doesn't want to push it. He'll wake up [Friday] and see how he feels. I'm going to plan that he's not going to be ready to play this year, but I'm hoping he does play this year."

Detroit hosts Nashville on Friday night in the midst of an NHL record 21-game home winning streak and the Preds haven't been back since the game Eaves got injured.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery