-- After testing out his bruised ankle in warmups on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit Red Wings
captain Nicklas Lidstrom
has decided to return to action.
Photo credit: Getty Images (Click image to enlarge)
Lidstrom, who'd missed a career-high 11 straight games with the injured ankle, also put himself through the paces at the team's optional skate on Saturday morning in preparation for facing the Carolina Hurricanes
on Saturday night.
Lidstrom wasn't sure he'd play at that point because he'd not skated twice in one day on the ailing ankle before, but shortly after warmups he got the green light to give it a go from the medical staff.
"Oh, I wanted to play four weeks ago," Lidstrom told reporters on Saturday morning. "I didn't want to miss any games. I thought it was going to be shorter. I wanted to play as soon as possible, but it just hasn't been able to do that."
It has improved quite a bit, however, from roughly 10 days ago -- when he was sent home from a West coast trip early because he couldn't skate on it. The rest he got last weekend after being sent home was helpful, apparently.
"It's a big difference from when I was out in California and went home from the trip," Lidstrom said. "It feels a lot better than about a week ago. I think it helped to stay off of it and kind of let it rest, let it heal for a few days, not putting any pressure on it. I thought that really helped."
Lidstrom is wearing a protective cover on his skate that's designed to absorb impact from a puck strike, but said he doesn't expect it to be completely pain-free.
"I think it's going to be there, there's going to be some soreness and you're going to feel it," he said. "That's what guys in the past have told me that have had similar things. It lingers a while, even after you're back playing games. It's still going to be a little bit sore."
Regardless, Lidstrom's skating looked a lot better than it did even a week ago. He looked back to himself on skates, even though he wasn't ready to declare himself at that point yet.
"I'm going to be sore for a while," Lidstrom said. "It's going to be staying with me for a while, it's just a matter of not getting worse. I think that's what they're afraid of."
Lidstrom has played in 62 games and has 10 goals with 21 assists and a plus-25 rating heading into the game against the Hurricanes.