DETROIT – Summer vacation ended early for defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was back at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday to begin a 10-14 day rehabilitation assignment for a fractured sacrum suffered on March 30.
“It feels pretty good,” said Kronwall, who skated in the Red Wings top prospects camp. “There’s still some swelling and some things that I’m not able to do in the gym yet. But I’m sure after these next two weeks I’ll be full and healthy.”
Kronwall injured the sacrum -- a large, triangular bone at the base of the spine – in the opening minute against Dallas when a hit by Joel Lundqvist sent him into the boards.
Kronwall missed the final four games of the regular-season, as well as the Wings’ run to the Western Conference finals.
Originally, it was speculated that Kronwall would miss 6-8 weeks. Though he did make the trip to Anaheim for Games 3 and 4, he was relegated to working out off-ice daily, and never did receive a clean bill of health to return to action.
So what started out as a 6-8 week injury has evolved into three-plus months.
“Not being able to play was the most frustrating part,” Kronwall said. “Since then, you really can’t do much. The season was over and you have to do whatever you can do to make sure you’re 100 percent healthy when camp starts.”
He fully anticipates that he’ll be ready for the team’s training camp, which is September 13-18 in Traverse City.
“Obviously it’s been a little frustrating, but you have to take every new day and see what you can do and progress every day,” said Kronwall, who signed a five-year contract extension last November. “I’m happy where I’m at after day and hopefully over the next couple of days I’ll get used to the muscles getting work. I think it will be good.”
Kronwall missed 14 regular-season games due to injury last season. If this injury has taught him anything, it’s been how to deal with the frustration of watching teammates from the sidelines.
“You learn to live with the frustration,” he said. “Other than that – it might sound like a cliché – but you have to take every day as a new day. Look at you body and say ‘what can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday?’ You learn a lot from our trainers and even other players, too.”