Hockey / Sports

Injured hordes recovering for Red Wings

With so many Red Wings injured, reinforcements have spilled into a crowded locker room at such an alarming rate that rookie center Riley Sheahan's makeshift locker consists of a folding chair next to a trash can.

But slowly, the Wings are on the mend.

Forward Johan Franzen has been out longer than anyone -- since he suffered a concussion on Dec.15. After a good skate Saturday and continued progress, general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that Franzen, barring a setback, would play today against the visiting Florida Panthers.

Franzen has missed 16 games since he was hit in the face by Tampa Bay's Radko Gudas. Franzen first thought he would be out for five days. Instead, he's dealt with constant headaches and has lacked mental acuity until his recent progress.

"Yeah, I think it's three days now I haven't had any issues," he said. "So hopefully I wake up tomorrow the same way. I hope to play."

Coach Mike Babcock said center Joakim Andersson, who has missed five games with a lower-body injury, also would be in the mix to return today.

"Yeah, we'll decide tomorrow, and Andy says he's feeling good, too," Babcock said. "So we'll decide tomorrow and see who's available kind of thing."

Samuelsson is almost certain to clear waivers, at which point the Wings will gain a roster spot by assigning him to the minors.

Zetterberg and other veterans have been getting regular rest from practice to help them get through the tough stretch.

"We kind of decided before this stretch, because we played every second day," Babcock said. "We knew this. I've given a lot of maintenance days this week just because of the fact of the grind. We'll get back to more of a normal schedule once we're through."

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