Detroit — The last thing Stephen Weiss needed was another injury, something else to knock him out of the lineup.
But Weiss hurt his shoulder Dec. 12 against Florida, and back on the sidelines Weiss went for the last three games, hoping he'll return for Sunday's game against Colorado but not knowing for sure.
Weiss has practiced the last two days, but will likely know Saturday if he's ready to play — or whether it is best to wait for another day or two, or simply after the holiday break.
"It's tough to say," Weiss said. "That's what I am shooting for, I'm hoping it's ready by Sunday. But we'll know Saturday. It really is a day-to-day type of thing."
Weiss hurt the shoulder after a collision with former Florida teammate Sean Bergenheim. After a few days of pain the shoulder has felt better toward the end of the week — but still not quite ready to absorb another hockey hit.
"Now it's a matter of being able to take contact," Weiss said. "It's started to come around the last few days. Everything else is good enough, it's coming around, but it's just not ready for contact yet."
The injury was disheartening for Weiss in that he was finally playing consistently and playing well, his best stretch by far as a Red Wings player.
Weiss had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 11 games and was plus-4, displaying a goal-scoring nose around the net and the ability to find teammates in scoring positions.
The Red Wings signed Weiss as a free agent in July 2013 because they envisioned him producing offense as the team's second line center.
In a small sample size, Weiss did just that.
"He seems to find the ability to score," coach Mike Babcock said. "That's good for him and us. You never have enough goals."
The fact Weiss was able to get back on the ice and stay loose the last couple of days was big for Weiss, who for the longest time was unable to skate the last two seasons because of a sports hernia.
"Especially for me, I don't want to stay off too long and stiffen," Weiss said. "It was good to get out and practice and get the legs going. When the shoulder catches up, I'll be ready to go."
Weiss remains perplexed and frustrated about the play with Bergenheim which got him hurt.
"It wasn't a bad hit or anything," Weiss said. "I was just kind of turning and lost my balance. It really was a weird play. I just fell forward and kind of lost my balance at a bad spot, a couple feet from the boards.
"I had to put my arm up to protect myself. (In those situations) sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don't."
It didn't take long for Weiss to know something was wrong.
"I tried to come back but I couldn't get my jersey on," Weiss said. "That was a good sign there that it probably wasn't smart to go out."