ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise is going back to basics as he works toward a return to playing after back surgery on Oct. 24.
"I feel good," Parise said Thursday after taking the ice for the second time in as many days with skating instructor Diane Ness. "It's still pretty basic skating stuff out there that we're doing, [but] it feels really good.
"It's only been two days on the ice, but [comparing] how I felt stepping on the ice -- a little rusty -- to the end of today, it was a big difference. It's good."
Parise said there are benchmarks he needs to clear before returning to practice or games and said there is no timetable for a return. The 33-year-old was expected to need 8-10 weeks to recover from the microdiscectomy procedure, designed to repair a herniated disk and alleviate the corresponding pain and weakness in nearby parts of the body.
Video: The crew talks about Parise's path to recovery
Parise missed the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs because of a herniated disk. He played 69 games last season, finishing with 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists), then aggravated the injury during training camp in September. Parise said a group of doctors tried different things to avoid surgery, but that the nerve pain worsened and became "pretty constant. It was pretty much 24 hours," forcing the decision to have the microdiscectomy.
"It kept going downhill, and the decision to do it was pretty simple with how much it hurt," Parise said. "At that point I pretty much would've done anything to get out of the pain. And the fact that I felt like we had kind of exhausted all the options of what we can do to avoid it, so it was pretty simple to finally be like, 'Let's just do it, get it done with, start the rehab, and move on with life.'
"The pain was pretty much constant. There were just things throughout the day you couldn't do, it hurt so bad. When I woke up from the surgery, [the pain] was gone. Right away, it felt so much better."
He's had to be patient during the recovery process.
"At the beginning, we had to let the wound heal and seal up," Parise said. "There was a good three weeks, or 3 1/2 weeks, where I wasn't even allowed to sweat. You go through that and once that heals up I started to do some mobility stuff.
"Now going on the ice with Diane and doing the skating stuff, it's almost like a 'learn to skate' out there again. Then next week I'll be able to start shooting and doing some twisting. It's just things like that. You get introduced to going out with the puck and shooting and then hopefully eventually on [the ice] with the team. As far as that goes I don't know how far down the road that will be."
Parise has 661 points (318 goals, 343 assists) in 830 NHL games with the Wild and New Jersey Devils.