DETROIT - As the Red Wings resumed practice this week, forward Johan Franzen and center Stephen Weiss weren’t the only two working to return from injuries. Defenseman Jakub Kindl, who missed Detroit’s final two games leading up to the Olympic break with a sprained MCL, hopes he’ll be ready to return to the Wings’ lineup when the league recommences play next week.
“I’ve been skating the last I don’t know, the last three days or so, but still a little sore but getting better,” said Kindl, who wore a wrap around his right knee during Thursday’s practice. “So hopefully I’m going to be ready for next week whenever we play the first game.”
Kindl suffered the injury in Detroit’s 2-0 victory over Vancouver on Feb. 3, which caused him to miss the team’s next two games against Florida and Tampa Bay. An MRI revealed the MCL sprain, but the defenseman couldn’t pinpoint exactly when it occurred.
“There’s things that happen outside that you don’t even know and the next thing you know they get injuries,” Kindl said. “Somebody bump into me and that’s all I remember.”
While he’s still continuing to recover from the injury, Kindl is targeting his return for Detroit’s trip to Canada when the team will face two Atlantic Division foes on back-to-back nights. The Wings play Montreal on Feb. 26 and Ottawa the following evening to wrap up a six-game February schedule.
“I think so, yeah, but it’s still not 100%,” Kindl said of returning for the trip to the north. “It kind of hurts when I try to turn and stuff and pivoting so hoping to be ready for next week.”
After watching Kindl practice with the team for the past two days, Wings’ associate coach Tom Renney hasn’t seen or heard anything that would delay the defenseman’s return.
“I think he’s doing fine,” Renney said. “Obviously you watch how he’s doing with his pivots and sort of misdirection if you will in terms of puck retrievals, those types of things. He’s doing fine, I don’t think we’ve done anything to sort of exacerbate the problem. He would tell us if that was the case and we have not heard from him along those lines so I think everything’s fine.”
RETURN OF OLYMPIANS: The Wings’ Olympians who have been eliminated from the 2014 Winter Games will begin trickling in late this week. Forwards Tomas Jurco and Tomas Tatar will return to practice on Saturday, while center Pavel Datsyuk will begin practicing next week. The three players flew back to Detroit Thursday.
INJURY UPDATE: Henrik Zetterberg will have his back evaluated Thursday upon his return to Detroit. The Wings’ captain withdrew from the Olympics after his herniated disk flared up in Sochi.
Stephen Weiss, who practiced with the Wings Wednesday and Thursday, will travel to Grand Rapids for a one-game conditioning stint with Detroit’s minor-league affiliate. The center will appear in his first game since Dec. 10, 2013 when the Griffins host the Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday, Feb. 23.
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