Updating Red Wings on the Mend

So far this season, the Detroit Red Wings have been ravaged by injuries. They’re already leading the league in man-games lost at the quarter point of the 2016-17 season.

With so many players out, younger players have been able to see ice time ahead of schedule. Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Ryan Sproul have played more than expected recently.

With a busy weekend ahead, let’s update the progress of Detroit’s injured wings:

Darren Helm (Dislocated Shoulder)

Earlier this season, Darren Helm was flipped by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Nesterov and sustained a shoulder injury when he landed awkwardly.

He’s expected to be out through 2016, but could return to the lineup for the Centennial Classic in Toronto. It’s not out of the question that Helm misses the outdoor game, plus a few more games in January.

Andreas Athanasiou (Sprained Knee)

Three weeks ago, speedster Andreas Athanasiou sprained his knee against the Vancouver Canucks and has been out ever since.

Athanasiou told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday that he’s begun skating with Red Wings strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar and feels better overall. He’s expected to be out for another week at the very least.

Alexey Marchenko (Sprained Shoulder)

In the same Detroit Free Press article, defenseman Alexey Marchenko stated that he’s close to returning from a sprained shoulder.

Marchenko participated in Tuesday’s practice on a limited basis while Niklas Kronwall took a maintenance day. If he doesn’t have any setbacks, Marchenko could join the lineup over the weekend, when Detroit has games in back-to-back nights.

Jimmy Howard (Strained Groin)

When the Red Wings visited Kyle Quincey and the New Jersey Devils, Jimmy Howard started the game, but did not finish it. Detroit’s veteran goaltender got his skate caught in a rut and will miss a week at minimum.

Given his position and previous groin injuries, Detroit should be wise to let Howard rest up. Petr Mrazek has played well in his absence and the Red Wings could give Jared Coreau a game over the weekend to see how he handles NHL action.

Brendan Smith (Sprained Knee)

The night after Detroit lost Howard, defenseman Brendan Smith awkwardly collided with a Montreal Canadiens player and tweaked his knee.

Smith’s particular knee sprain will keep him out through December. If he recovers according to the initial prognosis, Smith could return for the Centennial Classic along with Helm.

Tyler Bertuzzi (High Ankle Sprain)

In the same game as Smith’s injury, Bertuzzi was on the receiving end of a questionable Alexei Emelin hit. Detroit’s prospect sustained a high ankle sprain as a result and is expected to miss the rest of 2016 as well.

Once healthy, Bertuzzi could head straight to Grand Rapids with other Red Wings returning from injury. Having Athanasiou and Helm back in the forward lineup would likely put Detroit over the 23-man roster limit, provided no one else is injured between now and then.

Justin Abdelkader (Lower Body)

In Thursday night’s game against the Florida Panthers, alternate captain Justin Abdelkader became the latest Red Wing to depart with an injury.

Abdelkader hit Florida’s Vincent Trocheck, but came away in some pain. He left the game in the first period and it was announced during intermission that he would not return.

Which Detroit Red Wings player are you most excited to see back in the lineup? Comment below with your pick.