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Howard says 'two-weeks' is more like it

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

EDMONTON, Alberta
– Despite having a broken right index finger, goalie Jimmy Howard was on the ice with his Red Wings’ teammates at Rexall Place Saturday morning.

Howard, who suffered the fracture early in the third period of Thursday’s win at Vancouver, said that he will likely miss more than two games – the original prediction – but less than two weeks.

“I really haven’t been told, but the doctors in Vancouver told me four to six (weeks) before it’s healed,” Howard said. “When they told me four to six, I thought, ‘There’s no chance that I’m, you, know, going to be out four to six. Just two weeks sounded good.”

In the meantime, Ty Conklin will be the Wings' starter beginning Saturday against the Oilers, a team that he has a 4-2-0 overall record with a 3.02 goal-against average and a .900 saver percentage. It's been nearly three years since Conklin last played at Rexall when he led the Wings to a 3-2 victory on March 24, 2009.

If Howard is out for two weeks that means he could likely miss seven games with an eye on returning for the home game against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 19.

More will be known of Howard’s return once he sees team doctors Tuesday when the Wings return to Detroit following their current four-game road trip out west, which concludes Monday in Phoenix.

Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer fabricated a three-inch notch from the top of the stick’s paddle in hopes to make it easier to grip for Howard, who said he’s played before with broken digits.

“As you can see with my stick (there’s) a piece notched out so I’m able to hold on with (middle and ring) fingers,” Howard said. “I didn’t even take any shots today, so I don’t know how it will feel with the vibrations of the shots.”

Howard said he wants to return as soon as he’s comfortable and pain-free.

“I think the only danger is that it’s not going to heal, I think that’s the only danger,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any danger of injuring myself any further.

“I’m guessing that it’s two weeks. It’s really optimistic that it’s just two games. “Hopefully I can be back as soon as possible.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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