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How much pain can Danny Cleary tolerate?

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Danny Cleary has battled through the pain of a sore left knee for much of the second half of the season. Now he's set to play through the pain in the playoffs. (Photo by Getty Images)
As the majority of the Red Wings’ walking wounded have returned to the lineup over the last few weeks and are getting back into “game shape” – as they like to call it – there is one guy who has come to the realization that pain is something he’ll have to deal with for as long as the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs last.


For the last several months now, forward Danny Cleary has tolerated the physical discomfort of two Baker’s cysts behind his left knee.

“Nothing I can really do,” said Cleary, who has had several procedures to drain fluid from the cysts. “The rest helps a lot to bring down the swelling, but once you get back on the ice, it's pretty sore.”

Without Cleary and center Darren Helm (sprained left knee) on the third forward line, the Wings are missing two of their most aggressive, grinding forecheckers, along with forward Drew Miller, who has proven to be equally as valuable on the penalty kill. Helm, who missed the final 10 games of the regular-season, is likely out for Wednesday’s series opener at Nashville.

However, Cleary is expected to be in the lineup at Bridgestone Arena.

“I'm going to play for sure,” he said.

Cleary indicated that he will have a pain-killing shot before each game, and that surgery is in his future, but not until after the playoffs. He’s also three Synvisc injections that doctors said they won't know the results until third week of April before it the medication fully sets in.

“I've got bone-on-bone rubbing, which is causing a lot of swelling, a lot of fluid, that's why I get the Baker's cysts in the back that get drained every 10 days,” Cleary said. “There's a few things going on.”

But so how effective he can be on one healthy knee is anybody’s guess.

“It's another level, that's for sure,” said Cleary, who estimates that he’s at 50 percent. “Mentally, I'm, just going to have to find a way to get through it, do the best I can, contribute and try to be a factor.

“It's hard to gauge, until you get going in a playoff series. A lot of people play with different things, injuries. Sometimes the situation can alleviate a little bit of pain. Pain medication will help a lot.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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