DETROIT -- Darren Helm knew something bad had happened in his left knee almost immediately after he hit the ice in the third period Saturday in San Jose.
After trying to get a big hit against San Jose Sharks forward Dominic Moore in the neutral zone near the Red Wings' bench, Helm's leg appeared to get tangled with Moore's and Helm crashed to the ice in pain.
An MRI done Monday morning in Detroit showed Helm is suffering from a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and according to Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland, will miss 4-6 weeks..
"It's a sprain," Holland said. "You wait for the sprain to heal. This one just so happens to be on his knee. If you sprain your thumb, you don't do anything for it. You just wait for it to heal. This is the same thing.
"We just have to wait for it to heal."
He should be used to that refrain by now, with Detroit's list of walking wounded seemingly growing by the day. The good news is that several Red Wings appear to be on the mend, including defensemen Jonathan Ericsson (fractured wrist) and Jakub Kindl (oblique strain).
Both went through Monday's morning skate at the United Center and showed signs their ailments are healing. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom (bruised ankle) also went through a full morning skate for the first time in nine games and hopes to go through a full practice Tuesday.
"The playoffs are three-and-a-half weeks away," Holland said. "I'm hoping Helm's a fast healer and he'll be ready sometime around the start of the playoffs. That's certainly the hope, but you won't know until you let some time go by. But certainly we're hoping sometime during the first round of the playoffs we'll get Helmer back. In the meantime, it's an opportunity for (Gustav Nyquist) to play and an opportunity for (Justin Abdelkader) to have a bigger role."
Abdelkader will fill in for Helm at center on the third line, which likely will start with Danny Cleary at right wing.
"We're grinding right now," Holland said of his team, which has won just once in the past seven games (1-5-1). "We weren't overly pleased with our effort in our games in California (last week). I thought we played hard in San Jose. We just have to keep grinding."