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Jimmy Howard recalled from minors by Red Wings

Detroit goalie hasn't played NHL game since spraining right knee on Dec. 20 @NHLdotcom

The Detroit Red Wings recalled goaltender Jimmy Howard from his rehab assignment with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Friday and placed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on long-term injured reserve.

Howard, 32, has been out since he sprained his right knee in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 20. He was sent to Grand Rapids for conditioning on Feb. 4 and played two games. Howard will remain on injured reserve after leaving Grand Rapids' 4-1 win against Manitoba on Wednesday midway through the third period after irritating scar tissue in his injured knee.

"I was nervous," Howard said in Detroit. "I was really being optimistic and hoping it wasn't worse than it actually was and it was positive. There's really not much wrong. I'm just back here to do some treatment, rehab it and hopefully get back again at it next week."

Howard is 5-7-1 in 17 games but leads NHL goaltenders who've played at least 15 games with a 1.96 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He has a 194-120-54 record, 2.43 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and 23 shutouts in 392 NHL games, all with Detroit.

Petr Mrazek has started each of the past four games for the Red Wings, who visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-D, NHL.TV).

Ericsson left with a fractured wrist after a first-period hit by Nicklas Backstrom in a 6-3 loss at the Washington Capitals on Thursday. He will have surgery next week, general manager Ken Holland told, and will miss 12 weeks.

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