SAN JOSE, Calif. – Henrik Zetterberg took a big step Thursday morning in his recovering from a suspected concussion, but he will miss his third straight game tonight.
The captain joined his Red Wings’ teammates at the end of Thursday’s morning skate at SAP Center, where the team will face-off against the San Jose Sharks tonight.
“It was fun to be out on the ice again,” Zetterberg said. “That’s the step I’m going to take. Hopefully I can do more tomorrow.”
The team hasn’t officially labeled it a concussion, though it’s believed Zetterberg is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms from the two punches he took to the head from Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn last Saturday night.
Zetterberg, who has spoken to the media now twice since last Saturday, has not elaborated on what symptoms have bothered him. Whether it’s headaches, dizziness, nausea, or even amnesia, Zetterberg isn’t saying.
“I got little symptoms still,” he said, “but it’s significantly better than last time.”
Thursday was the first time Zetterberg has skated since the incident, which resulted in Benn serving only a two-minute minor penalty for roughing. Zetterberg is tied with Pavel Datsyuk for team scoring with 49 points.
Coach Mike Babcock does not anticipate Zetterberg this weekend when the Wings wrap up their current six-game road trip Saturday afternoon in Nashville. It’s more likely that the Wings will get their captain back in the lineup next Wednesday when they host the New York Rangers at Joe Louis Arena
“I don’t think we ever really – I mean you’re always concerned – I don’t think anybody was really worried much about it,” Babcock said. “It looks to me like he’ll be playing against the Rangers.”
Zetterberg, who said he’s never been concussed, was encouraged by his brief time on the ice. But he remains guarded because knowing that any little thing can trigger symptoms, especially strenuous activities like skating.
“I hoped to be back a few days before but obviously it’s fun to be able to be on the ice again and be allowed to be on the ice,” he said. “Just got to see how I respond to this and take it from there.”
Told that Babcock thought next Wednesday was likely a realistic day for his return, Zetterberg was more cautious about coming back.
“I think we’ll know tomorrow what I can do tomorrow and then I’m going to think about what I’m going to do the next day,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about what game or anything like that, I just take it day by day.”
Meanwhile, Zetterberg’s teammates were inspired to have their leader – on and off the ice – back at work.
“It’s great to see him back on the ice and obviously we’d love to have him back but he’s got to be healthy first,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “That’s an important step, first step, with him getting back on the ice.”