DETROIT – Darren Helm is day to day as the Red Wings enter this week’s training camp in Traverse City.
Helm, who missed all but one game last season with a sore lower back, is now sidelined with a groin injury, which flared up last Friday as he skated in the team’s informal practice at Joe Louis Arena.
“My back is going to be fine,” Helm said Monday. “I did enjoy working out, that’s when my back has felt better when I was doing more. I’ve got to do a little less right now. I don’t think it’s going to affect my back.”
Helm had an ultrasound performed on Saturday. No structural damage was detected.
“It was a strain,” Helm said. “They didn’t say it was a bad one. It’s day to day and we’ll see how I feel.”
Helm did not participate in the Wings’ final informal skate on Monday, and he’s not sure what the plan will be when the team hits the ice on Thursday in Traverse City.
“I don’t know what the plan is. The plan is to see how I feel Thursday,” he said. “It’s not the way I wanted to start camp. I’ve been working pretty hard to get back and be able to participate in camp. Now if it’s not the back it’s another thing. I’ve just got to get healthy and see what I can do.”
Coach Mike Babcock said last week that he expects Helm to be the Wings’ No. 3 center, behind Pavel Datsyuk and Stephen Weiss. If Helm isn’t ready to start the season, it’s likely that Joakim Andersson and Cory Emmerton will be the third- and fourth-line centers when the Wings open against Buffalo on Oct. 2.
The groin injury is just the latest in a litany of setbacks in the last two years for Helm, who also dealt with a knee injury and a lacerated forearm.
“This summer, the last two or three months, I feel like I’ve made really good progress with my back,” Helm said. “It’s kind of upsetting that my groin had to have a little effect here. I just need to move forward. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
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