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One by one, Wings are getting healthy

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Ian White suffered a severe cut above his left knee when he ran into the heel of Jimmy Howard's left skate blade on Jan. 22. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROITIan White staked with his teammates in Friday’s morning skate at Joe Louis Arena.

The veteran defenseman, who suffered a tear of the quadriceps muscle when the heel of Jimmy Howard’s skate blade punctured his left leg more than a week ago, is hopeful for a return as soon as next week.

“I was actually hoping to play today because I was skating for a few days now,” White said. “Felt fine skating but then the doctor explained if you fall and that leg jack knifes or whatever then it’ll blow everything up in there.

“I’m aiming for Tuesday, we’ll see. It gets a little bit better every day and hopefully I’ll be back then.”

The stitches remain in White’s leg, which prevents him from bending his knee beyond 120 degrees, so it’s still pretty stiff. Fortunately, he said, skating doesn’t require him to bend the leg more than 90 degrees.

“Skating’s pretty easy,” White said, “no pain doing anything on the ice, just need to get that range of motion back.”

The Red Wings’ defense, which has had as many as four members injured as once, is finally beginning to return to full strength. However, not the same can be said about other areas of the team, coach Mike Babcock said.

Center Darren Helm (back), defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (collarbone), goalie Jonas Gustavsson (groin) and forwards Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Jan Mursak (shoulder) are still days from returning to the lineup.

“The goaltenders, there doesn’t seem to be any light here at the end of the tunnel and we didn’t see Helm out there again,” Babcock said. “Mursak is a ways away, Samuelsson hasn’t skated at all. Who else is hurt? Whitey’s the only making any noise.”

Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard has done an amazing job without taking time off. He’ll make his seventh consecutive start when the Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues tonight at The Joe.

Commenting on the glutton of injuries, Babcock said, “They’re a long way away. You haven’t played in eight months and then you’re hurt. Gustavsson the same thing. As a goalie if you haven’t played and you have to win every night how can you put that guy in? Howie can’t play every night, like eventually you have to have someone play.”

As for whether White will be available for the Calgary game on Tuesday, Babcock was less optimistic.

“He said he’s going to go on Tuesday,” he said. “I said we’ll see after practice and decide if he’s going on Tuesday.”

CAPTAIN’S IN: Henrik Zetterberg has been fighting a fever and sore throat for the last two days. But the Red Wings’ center said he’ll be ready for the Blues, who embarrassed the Wings in a 6-0 season-opening defeat in St. Louis.

Zetterberg is second on the Red Wings with two goals and seven points.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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