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Bad news/good news: Red Wings’ Darren Helm’s definitely done, but Danny DeKeyser may yet return

Updated 2x at 5:19 PM: In addition to today's pair of Red Wings-Blackhawks practice posts: I know that the story that got Red Wings fans down involved the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's report that Darren Helm has suffered yet another setback in his attempt to recover from a partially torn ligament and slightly herniated disc in his back...

"The team is doing so great, it's the playoffs, and I want to be out there," said Helm, who was skating lightly during the Anaheim series before another setback occurred. "It's extremely tough to watch."

The plan now is for Helm to stay off the ice indefinitely.

"Something happened (skating during the Anaheim series) and it hurt a lot and I was limping around for a couple of days," Helm said. "We decided to take a step back and we needed a different approach — staying off the ice a lot longer.

Helm said "absolutely" it was a setback in his recovery. "It wasn't a step forward, that's for sure."

Surgery isn't an option at this point, said Helm, as doctors haven't pinpointed the root cause of the problem. So as the playoffs progress, Helm simply watches in the locker room with the Red Wings other scratches and cheers his teammates on.

"I've settled down a little bit, being able to watch now and not be too upset," Helm said. "When things get a little rough and guys are getting cheap-shot is when I really get upset and I want to be out there."

But ESPN's Craig Custance just penned a story that might yield near "fangirl/fanboy squee!" levels of excitement: According to Custance, Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser may have had his broken right thumb repaired via the insertion of permanent screws and a metal plate on May 4th or 5th, but DeKeyser's making steady progress in recovering from his injury, and if the Wings were to defeat the Blackhawks and advance...

It is not out of the realm of possibility that DeKeyser might return to the lineup, especially as his cast was to be removed today:

“As long as they keep winning here, that just gives me a better chance for a return with every win,” DeKeyser said. “I’m just hoping that the guys in here can keep winning and keep improving along the way. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance in a playoff game again.”

Carlo Colaiacovo has played well in DeKeyser’s absence, and his 17:12 of ice time in Detroit’s Game 3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was his most in any regulation game in the postseason. He was a plus-2 in the win.

But the smooth-skating DeKeyser was a key part of the Red Wings’ lineup down the stretch and would most certainly find a place in the lineup once healthy. He said doctors estimated a six-week recovery for his injury, which would put him close to a mid-June return.

He’s still holding out hope that he could play in the Western Conference finals if the Red Wings can beat the Blackhawks.

“I’m not ruling that out,” DeKeyser said. “As it is right now, I’m not ready to go yet. If I keep progressing like I am, I think I might have a chance to do that.”

Here's hoping that the Mike Emrick-coined Danny Del Keyser (the Doritos Locos Del Keyser: available at Taco Bell!) will yet "Live Mas"...


Update: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose has more on Helm's situation...

“Something happened and I came off,” he said. “I was in quite a bit of pain, so I’ve stayed off.”

Helm has been told not to skate, and to only focus on resting the sore back, which was originally injured while lifting weights days before the Red Wings training camp last January. The pain is so great that Helm’s exercise routine is now limited to the low-impact elliptical machine, as even sitting on a stationary bike causes too much discomfort.

When it comes to skating on his own, Helm doesn’t necessarily see it the same way as the medical professionals, which makes his situation that more frustrating, he said.

“The hardest part for me is knowing that I can go and probably twirl around, but at the same time we know it hasn’t been successful in the past,” Helm said. “We just have to find a different way to deal with it.”

Helm played in one game this season, skating 12-minutes with one shot against Minnesota on Jan. 25. But the next day, the disc in his lower back became inflamed again. Still, through the numerous setbacks and bad news, Helm has tried to keep a positive attitude, though not easy at times.

“I try not to think about it or talk about it too often,” he said. “I feel better a little bit each day by doing what everyone is telling me what to do. So it’s progress. As long as I stay off the ice for a while it will get better, I hope.”

Update #2: Here's even more on Helm from MLive's Ansar Khan:

“I feel pretty good and feel that I can go out onto the ice and get going,'' Helm said Wednesday. “But, we’ve proven three or four times already that that doesn’t work. Just (taking) a different approach and hopefully this one works.”

Helm won't return during the second round against Chicago but hasn't given up hope of coming back later on if the team advances.

“I feel better a little bit each day by doing what everyone is telling me to do,'' Helm said. “So, it’s progress. As long as I stay off the ice for a while it will get better, I hope.”

He continues doing rehab, trying to strengthen his back, which he injured working out off-ice a few days before training camp. He has played only one game, on Jab. 25.

“Sitting on the bike hurts, so (he's doing) elliptical,'' Helm said.

Helm said there has not been any discussion of having surgery this summer. No structural damage has been found.

“They haven’t found anything that warrants to go under the knife,'' Helm said. “We’re just doing what we’re doing, and it’s slow and not fun, but it needs to be done as I look forward to my future and the few years that I have left here.''

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SYF's avatar

RE:  Helm.  Please get the surgery done, God.  Please do it.

RE:  65DD.  Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 05/22/13 at 05:00 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Did Helm go on Space Mountain one too many times while out in Anaheim and throw something off?

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 05/22/13 at 06:03 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

This has been going on since early January . Nearly five freaking months!

Rest and PT are clearly not working. You don’t even need to be a pharmacist to know that. Helmer needs a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at him and his medical records. How about a second, third or fourth opinion?

Two guys come to mind: Dr. Arthur White, who performed Joe Montana’s surgery for a ruptured disc (though likely retired as that was 1986) or Drs. Robert Watkins Jr. & Sr. who worked on Peyton Manning’s neck.



Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/22/13 at 06:46 PM ET

RhymeTimeWingsDings's avatar

Could it be skating style with Helm? Like some pitchers destroy their arms (Zumaya) {SP?}, because they don’t hav proper technique and just throw with their arm instead of using their whole body?

Posted by RhymeTimeWingsDings on 05/22/13 at 07:49 PM ET


Helm better not plan on doing any dogsledding!  LOL

Posted by AZWinger on 05/22/13 at 07:51 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

I don’t worry about Helm coming back this year.  I worry about Helm ever coming back.  He needs to get another opinion, an operation or something.  He has a lot of talent and desire.  I hope he gets the chance to use it.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 05/22/13 at 08:08 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

they clearly said surgery is not an option.  and does anyone think they really haven’t taken him to multiple doctors?  back injuries can be mysterious, sounds like that’s the deal.  may never heal.  I’ve had a sprained sacro-iliac for over two years.  just won’t heal no matter what I do - PT, chiro, accupuncture, stretching, exercising.  maybe it’ll never heal.  backs are like that.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/22/13 at 11:20 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.