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Wings defenseman Smith working back from infected hand

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Talk about a fluke injury.

Brendan Smith cut his left hand on Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno's mouth during a fight Nov. 18 — and it became infected.

It got so bad the Red Wings defenseman needed minor surgery, which has kept him out since the incident.

"I hit Foligno in the mouth and apparently there's a lot of bacteria in a mouth, so I got infected that way," Smith said. "It was a fluke incident like that. Sometimes it can get cut open. A lot of times nothing will happen."

Smith returned to practice Tuesday, although a return to the lineup against the Flyers tonight is unlikely.

Smith is on antibiotics until the infection has run its course.

What frustrated Smith was that he was playing some of his best hockey just before the fight, and had two assists against the Blue Jackets.

"And all of a sudden a fluke incident like that gets me hurt," Smith said. "It's frustrating, but if we didn't catch (the infection) and I played another game and got more stuff from my glove, it could have been worse. I could have been out a month."

Still, despite the injury, fans won't catch expect Smith shying away from a potential fight.

"If something happens, you answer the bell," he said. "You want to be aware of what you're doing, you want to make sure you're not going to get yourself hurt. You make sure that you're not at the end of your shift when you're tired, so you could get hurt.

"These are all things that you've got to take into (consideration). It's never going to stop me from being physical or anything."

Ice chips

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (groin) could be ready tonight after coach Mike Babcock had him on a line with Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm during practice Tuesday.

Datsyuk has missed the last four games and six of the last eight.

"We'll see (in the) morning," Datsyuk said of his chances of playing.

… The Flyers feature league-leading scorer Jakub Voracek (29 points) and Claude Giroux (24 points).

"We have to be prepared for Giroux and Voracek, in particular, they score like crazy," Babcock said. "We have to stay out of the box and be ready to go. They beat us last time we played them. They need points and we need points."

...TSN national hockey analyst reported Tuesday Daniel Alfredsson will announce his retirement Dec. 4 in Ottawa. Alfredsson was a longtime star with the Senators before signing last season with the Red Wings. Alfredsson, 41, has been troubled with disk problems in his back.

Flyers at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7:30 Wednesday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: NBCSN, FSD+/97.1

Outlook: The Flyers won the first meeting between the teams. ... The Flyers are 2-6-1 on the road. ... The Flyers penalty kill ranks last in the NHL (73.1 percent).