No headaches, Helm hopes to return soon

Red Wings' speedy center skated for second straight day without symptoms

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:54 PM
Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT – Darren Helm skated for the second straight day for the first time since he experienced a setback in his recovery from a concussion that he believes he received in Ottawa Feb. 27.

“I haven’t had any bad headaches or long-lasting ones,” helm said Friday morning. “Every once in a while I get a slight headache or slight pressure up there but nothing where it’s been a huge concern to keep me off the ice or keep me from moving forward.”

Helm played in the Wings’ following game, four days later, in New Jersey. But it was in the second period that he began to experience vision problems.

“That’s why we kind of stopped and re-evaluated where my injury was at,” Helm said. “I don’t know if I’ll know exactly how good that is until I start amping up my workouts and my skating because I did take two practices before (game at New Jersey) and had no issues. When I got to that game situation where I really got going, that’s when the vision problems started happening.”

Still, Helm, who will sit out his fifth straight game when Detroit hosts the Edmonton Oilers Friday, is reluctant to establish a timetable for his return to the Red Wings’ lineup.

The Red Wings sent Helm to see a concussion specialist in Ann Arbor, where he said he visited with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, a sports neurologist at the University of Michigan Health System. He is the same doctor that treated Johan Franzen and former Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves for their concussions.

“I went to talk to him right after we got back from Jersey,” Helm said. “He diagnosed as a concussion, I’ve been keeping close contact with him about my progress each day. He says things are going well. Hopefully today will be another positive today and I won’t feel anything tonight and we can keep pushing forward.”

Helm has seven goals, including two game-winners, and 12 points in 29 games this season, However, the Red Wings definitely miss his speed through the neutral zone, his fore-checking, and his tenacious nature in the corners.

Helm said he felt fine Friday morning but the real test will come later this evening and into Saturday. If he continues to progress, Helm hopes to skate Sunday morning in Chicago with an eye on maybe returning next week against Pittsburgh on Thursday.

“That would be my goal (next week), just from watching other guys with concussions and head injuries, can’t really put a finger on when you think you’ll be back,” Helm said. “We thought Mule was going to be back for the Olympics but he kept having complications and couldn’t go. (Justin Abdelkader) had one this year, he was good to go after a week and a half, so you don’t know how your body is going to react.”

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