Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi has played in just seven games this season, with two goals and an assist. (David Guralnick/Detroit News)
Detroit — The season is speeding right past forward Todd Bertuzzi.
And there's no way he can stop it — or slow it down — with an aching back showing no signs of improving.
Bertuzzi, 37, just hopes there's a chance he'll be able to play at some point.
"Unfortunately, it takes time," Bertuzzi said as the Red Wings went through an optional practice. "I don't have an answer. I wish I did.
"When you have a knee injury, you know how long it'll take. (With a back injury), no clue."
Bertuzzi was hurt Feb. 7, but he was having issues with his back a few games before that.
"That play kind of tweaked it, or whatever," he said. "But by the third period I had lost everything in my right leg. There was no strength. After the game it got worse and by the time I got home I was done."
Bertuzzi, who went to the hospital after that game and was hospitalized the next four days, has been limited to seven games and has three points (two goals).
Helm suffers setback
Forward Darren Helm was hoping to put his back issues behind, but …
Helm was on the ice for approximately 10 minutes before suffering a "little bit of a setback."
"It didn't feel too good traveling (on the recent western Canadian trip) and sitting down a lot," said Helm, who has a torn ligament near his disc and has been limited to one game. "I don't know if that was the cause. We were pushing it pretty hard on the ice."
Helm had been skating with the team the last week and was hoping to play Wednesday against the Wild.
"That's a pipe dream," coach Mike Babcock said. "He just has to stay positive."
With 19 games left in the season, and the Red Wings fighting to earn a playoff spot, time is beginning to fade.
"Does it get to the point where he can't help us?" Babcock said. "Not the Helmer I know. The Helmer I know can help us any time."
Said Helm: "When you have a compressed schedule, you're losing a lot of games. You look and see only a handful of games left and where you're going, it's tough not to force yourself to try to get back earlier."
Doctors confirmed multiple fractures of the cheekbone for defenseman Kyle Quincey , who took a deflected puck off his face last week against the Oilers.
General manager Ken Holland expects Quincey out about 4-6 weeks.
"There's been no decision on whether surgery is necessary, we'll know about surgery in a week," Holland said.