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Zetterberg says this is 'an important week' for Alfie

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Henrik Zetterberg has a pretty good idea of what Daniel Alfredsson is dealing with in his latest back-pain saga. (Photo by Getty Images)
DETROITDaniel Alfredsson has skated a handful of times on his own in the past two weeks, but persistent nerve pain in his lower extremities, caused by herniated or bulging disks, is preventing him from making a decision on whether or not he’ll play this season for the Red Wings.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg has remained in contact with the team’s leading scorer from last season. Like the 41-year-old Alfredsson, Zetterberg knows all about debilitating lower-back pain, but he’s hopeful that the 18-season veteran will return for one more season.

“Says he feels better and I think this week will be an important week, and hopefully he will be with us next week,” Zetterberg said. “I think it was a wise decision for him to really take the time now and do his rehab and really give it a last shot. Hopefully it will work.”

Zetterberg had no other choice but to have surgery when a bulging disk reached the boiling point last February causing excruciating pain that prevented him from continuing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

“The symptoms are similar,” Zetterberg said. “It’s a different part of his back that he’s having issues with, so I hope that the last few weeks have been good for him and he’s doing the good things and hopefully he’s ready to go soon.”

The Red Wings still have 25 forwards in camp, but getting a healthy Alfredsson – who produced 18 goals and 49 points in 68 games – back in the lineup would be an early-season benefit, especially since Pavel Datsyuk (right shoulder) is expected to miss the first six or so regular-season games.

Meanwhile, Zetterberg, who returned to play in the final two games of last spring’s playoff series against Boston, said his bad back issues appear to be in the rearview mirror.

“I feel good,” he said. “I think the second game against Boston I felt better than the first one, and it’s nice to be in the preseason, in camp, and feeling good. Just preparing for games and you prepare for practicing and just feel ready to go when the season comes.”

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