|Darren Helm was back on the ice Thursday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in San Jose on March 17. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings) |
It came as a surprise to Darren Helm
, but he was happy to learn that his rehabilitation for his strained left knee was ready to take the next step.
“Before I came in today I wasn’t even sure when I’d be on the ice,” the Red Wings center said. “They wanted me to get on there now, and it felt better than I thought. It’s still a ways a way I think, but it still helps a lot mentally.”
For the first time since his knee-to-knee collision with San Jose’s Dominic Moore at HP Pavilion, Helm was back on the ice Thursday, less than three weeks since the St. Patrick’s Day injury.
The original diagnosis for Helm was 4-6 weeks, which would mean that at the very least he would be sidelined through the first few games of the opening playoff series. So the next few hours will be a big indicator for Helm’s recovery, but if there’s no setback, he could return to the Wings’ lineup sooner than first anticipated.
“Previously they told me probably not Game 1,” Helm said. “So I’m not going to be super angry if it’s not Game 1. Obviously, I want to be back. We have to play it as safe as possible right now. If I re-hurt it, it could be the rest of the year; but at the same time I don’t want to milk it too much. It’s a pretty exciting time and I want to get out there.”
And coach Mike Babcock certain would like for his speedy center back to anchor his aggressive third line.
“We could really use Helmer,” Babcock said. “As everyone knows just in watching us play, we’re not near as good a team without him. We have way less depth, and we don’t come at you near as hard. He can really help our team, and the sooner he’s back the better for us. … It was great to see him out there tooling around.”
Fitted with a metal brace, Helm skated for nearly an hour without much limitation.
“I think the biggest thing is tomorrow, to see how it feels after this skate,” said Helm, who had nine goals and 17 assists. “If it feels good, we can keep pushing it more each day and I can go out and skate with the team. These last two days I think it made a pretty big jump.”
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