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Wings encouraged by Datsyuk's progress

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk played in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning with ruptured ankle tendons. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT – Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk is on schedule in his rehab from ankle surgery, according to general manger Ken Holland.

Datsyuk, 37, had surgery to repair ruptured tendons on June 26 in Charlotte, N.C.

Holland said Red Wings trainer Piet Van Zant visited Datsyuk last week.

"All in all, we're encouraged by his progress," Holland said.

Datsyuk is scheduled to see his surgeon, Dr. Robert Anderson, in mid-September. Anderson will determine if Datsyuk can begin hockey activities.

Datsyuk said it might be out "four or five months" from the surgery before he could play, in a Russian television interview last month.

That would put Datsyuk's return in late October or November. Detroit opens its regular season on Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"We're waiting for him to see the doctor in September and see where he's at then," Holland said.

Datsyuk was bothered by the ankle injury late last season and missed eight of the last 14 regular-season games. He had 29 goals and 36 assists in 63 games last season after missing the first five games of the regular season with a separated shoulder.

Holland said that whether Datsyuk can or can't begin the regular season will have no effect on whether the Red Wings' top prospect, center Dylan Larkin, makes the team out of training camp.

Larkin, 19, was Detroit's first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the 2014 NHL draft. He began the 2014-15 season as a freshman at the University of Michigan and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He excelled for the United States at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, leading the U.S. team with five goals and seven points in five games and impressing with his all-around game. Larkin also played for the U.S. team at the IIHF World Championship; he had one assist in 10 games.

"If Dylan Larkin is making the team, he's making the team because he's making the team," Holland said. "He's not making the team because there's a spot open because someone's injured."

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