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Franzen practices on eve of Game 1

by Lindsey Ungar / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT — After skating the past two days by himself, Johan Franzen was back on the ice for the Red Wings' Friday morning paractice at Joe Louis Arena.

But even though he skated for over an hour, Franzen will likely not play in Game 1 on Saturday. He will see the doctors again Saturday for more testing.

“I feel good,” said Franzen, during Friday's media day at Cobo Hall. “I’m real excited to be back on the ice. It’s a lot of fun to be with the guys today.”

It was the first time that Franzen met with the media since it was reported by the team that he was suffering concussion-like syndromes before Game 2 of the Dallas series. He sat out last five games of the Western Conference final.

“Skating outside the team, watching the games on TV — it’s not a fun thing to do,” said Franzen, who didn’t even travel with the team to Dallas. “You get really nervous when you’re not out there. It’s a good thing we played that well; it was a little bit easier.”

Franzen, who suffers from migraines, had been experiencing headaches since the Colorado series. But he choked it up to the altitude and played with the pain — until the headaches never stopped, bugging him day and night. That’s when he knew something was different and stopped playing.

“We haven’t found a big hit,” Franzen said of what might have caused the headaches. “You get bumped all the time, your head’s into the glass. It’s hard to say … I don’t know exactly where it happened.”

The Wings are 3-2 without Franzen. Even though he hasn’t played since May 8, he’s still the leading goal scorer (12) in the playoffs.

But he won’t get back on the scoresheet until doctors clear him to play. There’s no set number of days he has to headache-free before he returns, according to Franzen.

“He’s flying around, going 100 miles an hour, looks like a million bucks, no side effects,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said on Friday. “Looks to me like he’s ready to play, but that’s why I don’t make those decisions.”

Regardless of whether he plays in Game 1, Franzen's teammates are just glad to see him back on the ice.

“He’s a huge part of our club, let’s be honest,” forward Dan Cleary said. “He’ll be back, we just don’t know when. When he does, we’ll welcome him with open arms.”

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